In a move to fast track the cadastral survey of all cities and municipalities nationwide, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje issued new guidelines on the final disposition of abandoned cadastral survey projects.

At the same time, Paje directed all regional officials to conduct an inventory of abandoned cadastral survey projects and establish a database to facilitate the determination of needed actions to complete the undertaking.

“Among the concerns of the present administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III is to fast-track the nationwide cadastral survey. This is in support of other critical projects of the government, such as land titling, land use planning, taxation and the internal revenue allotment (IRA) program for the different municipalities nationwide,” DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said.

Paje, however, said the nationwide cadastral survey program is hindered by some abandoned survey projects which the government has contracted out with private surveyors.

“DENR Administrative Order No. 2011-05, which sets the new guidelines on the disposal of abandoned cadastral survey projects, is intended not only to systematize the process of resolving this issue of abandoned or incomplete cadastral survey projects but also to facilitate the development of a database that can also serve as a monitoring tool as it can be updated anytime,” Paje explained.

Cadastral survey is a type of land survey intended to determine the administrative boundary of a city or a municipality and its component barangays. It also includes the determination of administrative boundary of lots in alienable and disposable lands of the public domain for purposes of land titling.

Paje said the DENR is set to complete the survey of 263 more municipalities and 18 cities with total coverage of 6,312, 932 hectares during year.

Records from the Land Management Bureau indicated that from 2007 to 2010, some 104 cities and 780 municipalities, with accumulated area of 16,898,210 hectares, already have complete and approved cadastral survey results, while some 294 municipalities and 12 cities with total land area of 6,718,043 hectares are partially surveyed.

“This leaves us with 45 municipalities to target in the coming years, and those that have been left abandoned,” Paje said.

Among other things, the DENR order provides for the procedures in handling abandoned cadastral surveys, including incomplete projects, projects with uncorrected survey returns, unfinished survey projects either due to the death of the contractor or force majeure.

Under the order, a cadastral survey project is considered abandoned under the following conditions: 1) when field activities are left unfinished after the period stipulated in the contract, 2) when the contractors fail to correct survey defects within the period to be determined by the DENR regional office, and 3) when such cadastral project awarded in earlier DENR cadastral programs is listed as “not completed” in the DENR inventory.

Paje said he has given the regional executive director (RED) of the DENR the authority to cancel abandoned cadastral survey projects and to determine the appropriate sanctions to be imposed on the contractor.

Among the grounds where the RED can imposition sanctions against an erring contractor or geodetic engineer include the following: failure to complete the survey within the contract period; failure to undertake the necessary correction of the survey projects within the prescribed period; failure to return survey project records; and other violations on other provisions in the contract.