Solons to fast track conversion of timberland areas to A and D lands in Surigao City

by Ben Serrano

     May 12, 2011


            SURIGAO CITY (PNA) - With so many residential lands in many areas in Surigao City still classified as timberlands therefore not qualified for titling, 2nd District Surigao del Norte Rep. Guillermo Romarate, Jr. vowed to fast track the bill filed before Congress to convert timberlands into an alienable and disposable lands.


            The House Bill is now already on its third and final reading, the two Surigao solons said.


            First District Surigao del Norte Rep. Francisco T. Matugas has also committed to help fast track the bill he  co-authored with Congressman Romarate. He said he will order his congress office staff to follow it up at the House Committee where it is now pending.


            The two solons who belonged to President Aquino’s Liberal Party claimed they only responded to the widespread clamor of owners of residential properties in Barangays San Juan, Taft, Navalca and other areas of Surigao City who are only armed with tax declarations as proof of their ownership be converted into land titles


            It can be recalled that the DENR has told residential owners that the only way to convert timberlands into an A and D was through legislation in congress.


            But it was not so in the case of protected area 7,658 hectares Mount Mayapay in Butuan City, according to NGO Kalikasan where lands within Mount Mayapay were allegedly already applied for an A and D while some most rich traders and prominent politicians who bought lands in the area have already registered their acquired lands before Land Registration Authority (LRA).


            Indigenous People in Mount Mayapay who are CADT holders are planning to file class suits against some local DENR officials, personnel and some personalities of why declared timberlands in said protected Mt. Mayapay have been converted into Alienable and Disposable lands.


            In the case of Surigao City where there is clear initiative to convert said timberlands through legal means, once signed into law by the President of the Philippines, existing occupants can now apply before Land Registration Authority (LRA) land titles.


            Romarate said the legal conversion of the Surigao City timberlands into A and D lands will surely help Surigao City government increase its real property tax collection while providing land owners the power to develop the lands they occupied and can now be used as loan collaterals including other legal purposes. (PNA/Ben Serrano)


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