A total of 75 residents from Metro Manila were awarded ownership over the land they occupied for several years through the “Handog Titulo” program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The beneficiaries received their land titles during the celebration of the 31st founding anniversary of the DENR held last Wednesday at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City.

No less than President Rodrigo Duterte, who was guest of honor at the DENR anniversary rites, handed over the titles to the beneficiaries from the municipality of Pateros and the cities of Taguig, Makati, Parañaque and Valenzuela.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the beneficiaries acquired their land titles through Republic Act 10023 or the Residential Free Patent Act of 2010 and Proclamation 172, which declared certain barangays in Taguig City open for disposition.

Cimatu assured that the DENR would continue to promote social justice and poverty alleviation through the processing and distribution of free patents for residential lands.

“The DENR aims to uplift the lives of Filipinos by giving them access to free land titling and empowering them with legal ownership over lands which they have been occupying for many years,” Cimatu said.

The Handog Titulo program seeks to expedite the processing and issuance of public land patents to qualified beneficiaries. It is an initiative to boost the distribution of land titles to fight poverty, and fuel progress and development.

Under the program, free patent is made available to Filipinos who occupied a residential land for at least 10 years provided the land applied for is alienable and disposable.

The distribution of land titles is anchored on two government policies to give land to the landless: Proclamation 172 and RA 10023.

Proclamation 172 specifically refers to the distribution of residential lots to qualified residents through sale, and it covers certain barangays in Taguig City.

RA 10023, on the other hand, authorizes the administrative issuance of free patents on residential lands to every qualified Filipino with no land title.

Under the law, applicants do not have to go through a lengthy, tedious and financially-demanding court process to gain legal rights over residential lands they have occupied for 10 years or more.

It covers all public lands zoned as residential, townsites and residential lands in delisted/abandoned military camps and reservations. ###