The Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of San Juan in Southern Leyte in coordination with the Registry of Deeds (ROD) and the local government unit of Hinundayan recently distributed three hundred thirty five (335) agricultural free patents to qualified beneficiaries in Hinundayan, Southern Leyte through DENR’s Handog Titulo Program.

The title distribution is in line with the Department’s program on improved land administration and management. This include the processing and issuance of free patents for agricultural and residential lands to provide security of tenure to occupants and landowners of alienable and disposable (A&D) lands through simplified, streamlined and cost-effective process of administrative titling.

Forester Alexander Casco, Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer of CENRO San Juan underscored the importance of land titles. “In your possession now are original certificate of titles which serve as evidence of an incontrovertible title to the lands that you have possessed and tilled for decades,” he told the recipients.Secure and protect your titles, in the same manner that you will develop and improve the lands that are genuinely yours now,” he added.

Adela B. Cocharo, a septuagenarian recipient from Brgy. Lungsod Daan, Hinundayan, Southern Leyte says, “my gratitude to the DENR for helping me have this title over the lands which have been in our possession for decades already. Now that it is truly mine, my children’s rights over it also secured.”

Agricultural patents are land grants to individuals given title under Commonwealth Act 141 otherwise known as Public Land Act, as amended by Republic Act No.6940 and further amended by Republic Act 11573. To be entitled to an agricultural free patent, an individual must be a Filipino citizen, occupying and cultivating the land not exceeding twelve (12) hectares for at least twenty (20) years, and has been paying taxes thereon. Applications for agricultural free patents shall be filed before the CENRO of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).