Enshrining real estate in our constitution (II)-A A +A
Real Estate Updates
Sunday, August 12, 2012
CONTINUING with our discussion last week, if by reason of the said constitutional provision on Social Justice and Agrarian Reform, landless tenant-farm workers are being given the right to own, directly or collectively, the lands they till, etc., legitimate landowners ought to be given the right of retention in like manner, or in accordance with the above-said Constitution provision. Ownership of the lands which are not subject to agrarian land reform, acquired by its present owners, or their predecessors-in-interest, through sheer economic endeavors, or hard labor, the implementation of the said land reform program must not serve injustice to them.
Under the new 1987 Philippine Constitution as in the 1973 Constitution, “all lands of the public domain and all natural resources belonging to the State, and their disposition, exploitation, development or utilization shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines, or to corporations or associations at least sixty percentum (60%) of the capital of which is owned by citizens.” The difference however, lies in that it is now the President, and not Congress, who, in the national interest, may allow ownership of the same to such citizens, corporations or associations.
With this provision, it reinforces the allowable limits of foreign ownership in condominiums where the Condominium Law (Republic Act No. 4726) allows foreigners to own at least forty percent (40%) of the units. This is due to the principle that land ownership can be allowed to juridical persons typified by corporations or associations where at least 40% be given to foreigners. That is the unique characteristic of condominiums where ownership consists of common ownership of the land and absolute ownership of condominium to unit owners.
And also, our Constitution now provides related to real estate the following:
1. Urban Land Reform and Housing – “The State shall, by law, and for the common good, undertake, in cooperation with the private sector, a continuing program of urban land reform and housing which will make available at affordable cost decent housing and basic services to underprivileged and homeless citizens in urban centers and resettlement areas. It shall also promote adequate employment opportunities to such citizens. In the implementation of such program, the State shall respect the rights of small property owners.” (Section 9, Article XIII)
2. Eviction of Urban or Rural Poor Dwellers – “Urban or rural poor dwellers shall not be evicted, nor their dwellings demolished, except in accordance with law, and in a just and humane manner. No resettlement of urban or rural dwellers shall be undertaken without adequate consultation with them and the communities where they are to be relocated.” (Section 10, Article XIII)
These provisions on Urban Land Reform and Housing and its attendant provision of relocation of urban and rural poor dwellers are inspired by the mandates of Presidential Decree Nos. 1517 and 2016, promulgated by the deposed President Ferdinand E. Marcos (now deceased); the latter was decreed sometime in January 1986, or before his ouster by the so-called EDSA Revolution on February 25, 1986.
The said decrees issued by the former President were comprehensively covered by Republic Act No. 7279 (otherwise known as the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992), which was approved by then President Corazon C. Aquino on February 3,1992 and promulgated on March 24, 1992. This enabling act provides for a comprehensive and continuing urban development and housing program for the underprivileged and homeless citizens.
With the provision on social justice, agrarian and urban land reforms, the protection of the rights of indigenous cultural communities, and all other like provisions of the new 1987 Constitution, it is evident that the government’s policies and programs are to be geared toward narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor, and to improve the economic conditions of our people, particularly the underprivileged or those in the so-called poverty zones or marginalized sectors of our society.
Towards this end, real estate, particularly property ownership shall be offered as one of the avenues to spur economic development for the betterment of the country and benefit of the people. This is the nobility that real estate spells out and is well enshrined in the Constitution – the fundamental law of the land.
Postcript to the BLISTT Plan Concept: The initial step in realizing the plan had been started. News reports state that a BLISTT Development Council had been formed composed of the Chief Executives of the said LGU’s, Benguet Provincial Governor, Regional Development Council (RDC) Co-chairman, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Director, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Regional Director and Local Government Development Foundation (LGDF) Executive Director. We will keep you posted on further developments happening on this.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 13, 2012.