The Philippines is home to an estimated 24 million parcels of land, only half of which are formally titled. Many Filipinos live, cultivate, and build on plots of land without such formal titles. This lack of security prevents them from using their lands as collateral to secure loans, thereby hindering business opportunities, increased employment, and economic growth.
In 2007, The Asia Foundation, along with a coalition of public advocacy organizations, legislators, and government agencies, began working towards the introduction of reforms to the administrative titling process. Their efforts resulted in the introduction of a landmark piece of legislation - the Residential Patents Act No. 10023 (RA 10023) - which introduced a new, simplified titling process. Under this new process, the number of land titles issued each year dramatically increased from 4,000 prior to 2010 to 60,000 each year since the passage of the law. However, if this was to continue at the current rate, it would take over 100 years to title all land parcels.
TrustLaw connected SyCipLaw with the Asia Foundation to produce this practical guide which aims to increase awareness of RA 10023 and its legal procedures. The guide consists of questions and answers on the residential free patent titling process, as well as case studies and template documentation which may be used for applications. It is hoped that this practical guide will enable more low-income Filipinos to use this legal procedure to formally title their lands. A tailored version of the guide for legal practitioners is available here, laymans guide here, as well as an overview brochure in Tagalog. Check out www.thisisplace.org for further information on land and property rights from the Thomson Reuters Foundation.