PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure that seeks to remove restrictions on agricultural free patents issued to farmers, in a bid to spur development in the agricultural sector.
Duterte signed Republic Act 11231 on February 22, removing restrictions imposed on the registration, acquisition, encumbrance, alienation, transfer and conveyance of land covered by free patents, as provided under Commonwealth Act 41 governing land patent program.
The Commonwealth Act 141, otherwise known as the Public Land Act, prohibits land owners to sell and mortgage land within the first five years of the patent grant and gives the option to the original owner to buy back the property within five years from the date of sale.
The restrictions have made agricultural patents unbankable inasmuch as banks do not want to hold a property for five years before its disposition
The new law lifts prohibitions in granting public farmlands to qualified beneficiaries.
"It is the declared policy of the State to remove the restrictions on free patents to allow the efficient and effective utilization of these lands in order to contribute to wealth creation, entrepreneurship, and economic development," RA 11231 or the Agricultural Free Patent Reform Act stressed.
The law should also have "retroactive effect and any restriction regarding acquisitions, encumbrances, conveyances, transfers, or dispositions imposed on agricultural free patents issued under Section 44 of Commonwealth Act 141, as amended, before the effectivity of this Act, shall be removed and are hereby immediately lifted."
Palace released a copy of the newly-signed law on Thursday, March 14. (SunStar Philippines)