THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has reminded all municipal and city assessors in Cebu to refrain from issuing tax declarations on timberlands because it is illegal to do so.
DENR 7-National Greening Program (NGP) coordinator Luisito T. Babaran said issuing tax declaration on timberland violates Section 72 of Presidential Decree (PD) 705, which revised Presidential Decree 389 (Forestry Reform Code of the Philippines).
Babaran said large portions of mountain barangays in Cebu City are timberlands. These are also considered as water reserve areas that augment the water supply in Metro Cebu.
He said former DENR secretary Proceso Alcala told municipal and city assessors that they are prohibited to issue a tax declaration on a timberland, unless there is a certification from a DENR director stating that an area had been converted into alienable and disposable land by the Congress.
Babaran further said that a tax declaration illegally issued by an assessor for a timberland cannot be made as basis for the issuance of a deed of sale.
The government can recover a timberland issued with a tax declaration and it can file charges against the person possessing the document.
Even if the timberland was sold several times, Babaran said the government can still get it.
Babaran made the announcement during the technical working conference with the people’s organization of Tuburan, Cebu, which is listed by the DENR as coffee farmers under the NGP.
Thousands of hectares in Tuburan are coffee farms. Some restaurants and hotels are being supplied with coffee beans from Tuburan. (EOB)