The acceptance of applications for Agricultural Free Patent ended on the last working day of December 2020 pursuant to Republic Act 9176, otherwise known as the Public Land Act of 2002.

However, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will continue to prioritize issuance of free patents to qualified applicants under its Improved Land Administration and Management priority program.

 “For the first quarter of this year, we will continue to process the agricultural free patent applications received by the Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices (CENROs) before the deadline set by the law. The office will resume the acceptance of agricultural free patent applications once the bill seeking for its extension will be passed by Congress,” says Marilou Abocot of the Licenses Patents and Deeds Division of DENR Eastern Visayas.

In 2020, the regional office was able to process and issue 1, 210 agricultural free patents with a corresponding area of 1, 231.0553 hectares and 2,200 residential free patents with an equivalent area of 50.2024 hectares. The patents issued by the DENR is then transmitted to the Register of Deeds (ROD) for the issuance of title.

“Our aim is to accelerate the issuance of free patents to qualified applicants so that these land owners could finally attain security in their land tenure,” says DENR Region 8 Regional Executive Director, Tirso P. Parian, Jr.

Through the conduct of Rapid Land Tenure Appraisal (RLTA), the Department seeks to determine the number of workable lots in cities and municipalities covered by Cadastral Survey for the issuance of both agricultural and residential free patents. For 2021, the target municipalities for the RLTA activities are Lapinig in Northern Samar, Villaba in Leyte, Malitbog in Southern Leyte, Culaba in Biliran and Basey in Samar.