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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Duterte to fix titling system of farms, mining claims, IP lands. Is this a prelude to foreign ownership of PH lands?

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has made it clear that amending the Constitution to make the Philippines more attractive to foreign investors is among his top priorities.
Businessman Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez, a member of Duterte’s transition team, revealed that Duterte would lead the formation of a constitutional convention to amend the restrictive economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution.
But Dominguez declined to give details on what industries or economic areas, specifically land ownership ban on foreigners, that Duterte wanted to open to foreigners because this was the job of the Con-con.
“We will not predict what the the convention will decide. We will certainly push more rational (rules) than what it is now, something more friendly for investments. What is rational? I’m not member of Con-con, we have to take it industry by industry.” said Dominguez.
But among the things that stuck out in the press conference on Duterte’s eight-point economic agenda in Davao City on 12 May 2016 was Dominguez underscoring the pressing need to address the country’s problematic land titling system and the importance of having “solid security on land tenure.”
Dominguez pointed out the investors’ concerns on having to to contend with four land titling agencies: Land Registration Administration (LRA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).
“There is very little coordination between agencies and we very well that security of land tenure is important because it allows more investments, it encourages more investments in rural areas, makes projects more bankable,” said Dominguez.
Fixing the land titling system will indeed be a big boon to foreign investors in mining, logging and large-scale farming that have been hampered by the archaic land titling system in the country.
But is this being time timed for the opening of land ownership to foreigners?
During the campaign, the Kilusan Magbubukid ng Pilipinas slammed Duterte for his desire to allow foreigners to own up to 70 percent of a tract of land in partnership with Filipinos.

But after voting in the May 9 polls, Duterte said that while he favored the opening of the economy to foreigners, he would object to lowing foreigners to buy land in the country.


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