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Bill simplifying process of acquiring public agri lands gets House nod
Bill simplifying process of acquiring public agri lands gets House nod
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Bill simplifying process of acquiring public agri lands gets House nod
by Daylight Abas02 August 2023
Photo courtesy: House of Representatives

The House of Representatives adopted on the third and final reading a bill that alters a clause in the 87-year-old Commonwealth statute to simplify the country's old cumbersome procedure of purchasing public agricultural properties.

House Bill (HB) 7728 was approved by a landslide of 193 votes.

According to Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, the proposed amendment will replace Section 24 of the decades-old statute, simplifying and streamlining the otherwise lengthy, if not tedious, acquisition of properties.

The Public Land Act of 1936 (Commonwealth) is the general law in the country that oversees the classification, delimitation, survey, and disposition of alienable areas in the public domain, he added.

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On May 30, the House of Representatives adopted the identical bill on second reading before Congress adjourned sine die on June 3.

In the new proposal, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Central Office will issue notices of sale once a week for "two consecutive weeks—down from six—and will be published in the Official Gazette and "two newspapers."

One of the two newspapers should be published in Metro Manila, while the other should be published in the local municipality or neighboring province where the agricultural property for sale is located.

The notification shall be displayed on the DENR main office's "bulletin board" as well as in the "most conspicuous place in the provincial and municipal buildings of the province and municipality, respectively, where the land is located, and if practicable, on the land itself."

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However, if the property's value is only PHP50,000, the publication process will no longer necessitate the use of the Official Gazette and newspapers, as the notice can now be displayed in three "conspicuous places" on the property for sale.

These criteria have been replaced by posting notices in "barangays and municipalities where the land is located, as well as on the land itself, for the notice of that application."

The notice must be published in "English or the local dialect," and it must specify a date 30 days -- rather than 60 days -- "after the date of the notice on which the land will be awarded to the highest bidder.

The DENR secretary was responsible for issuing all of the relevant rules and regulations to implement the proposed policy.

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HB 7728's authors include House Majority Leader Manuel Jose "Mannix" Dalipe and Reps. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., Jurdin Jesus Romualdo, Alfelito Bascug, Eddiebong Plaza, Joseph Stephen Paduano, Carl Nicolas Cari, Zia Alonto Adiong, and Stephen James Tan.

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