Volume 20 Nos. 1 & 2

Changing patterns of land ownership and their impacts on agricultural productivity and agrarian relations in Lucban and Pagbilao, Quezon


This research aimed to document the present characteristics of selected landowners and tenants in agricultural production systems and describe the changing patterns of land ownership and food production activities and their corresponding relations on agricultural production and agrarian relations in Barangay Tinamnan, Lucban and Barangay Binahaan, Pagbilao in Quezon Province. The data indicate that there is a need for more directed interventions that would improve not only the capability of the landless tenants and primary land tillers to improve the economic returns and profitability of their agricultural farming systems, but also those of the small-scale landowners and land reform beneficiary-owner-cultivators. Active interventions from the government and educational institutions (i.e., do more research on how to further increase productivity of the different farming and livelihood systems, provide continued agricultural support services, and construction of infrastructure facilities) are necessary to arrive at effective farming strategies to improve the livelihood production capabilities of tenants, landless agricultural laborers, and small-scale land owners or CARP beneficiary owner-cultivators who are tied up in different agricultural production systems such as coconut-based and rice-based farming systems.

The changes in patterns of landownership and tenure relations in the past few decades have influenced decision-making processes that determine the levels of productivity at different agricultural production scales in the Philippines. The changes were due strengthened capitalist relations that were shaped by the increasing attention given non-subsistence food production and agri-business ventures in rural agriculture. Monetary resources determine one's capacity to buy good seedlings, appropriate agricultural technologies, and own agricultural lands. The strengthened capitalist, in everyday agricultural activities marginalize tillers who only have small amounts of capital and no regular monthly income sources, while it strengthens hold of people with financial resources - urban professionals, overseas Filipino and high ranking government employees - in agricultural production. Thus, wealth from agricultural products are concentrated among those with ample financial resources.

This research was conducted in Barangay Tinamnan, Lucban and Barangay Binahaan, Pagbilao in Quezon Province to 1) document the current characteristics of selected main actors in agricultural production systems; 2) lay out the changing patterns of land ownership and agrarian relations in two different communities; and 3) explore the impacts of the changing patterns of land ownership and food production activities and their corresponding relations on agricultural production and agrarian relations.



Land management issues and concepts of land tenure security in upland areas in Northern Luzon: the case of Mayoyao, Ifugao Province


This research investigated issues and concerns derived from various legal and administrative difficulties relating to land utilization regulations in the country. Particularly, the study determined how the concept of land stewardship affected land management and land tenure in Mayoyao, Ifugao using key-informant interviews. Results show that efforts to preserve the rice terraces and maximize its tourism potentials have imposed unreasonable development guidelines that hindered the desire of indigenous communities to modernize. The passage of the Indigenous People's Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997 and administrative concerns like the creation of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), which raised questions on the functions of the agency vis-a-vis those that have already been administrating land-related programs over the past years, have further complicated the conflict and tension between indigenous culture and Philippine legal instruments.

Land management pertains to the rational use and development of land resources based on concepts of land capability and suitability. The incorporation of sustainable development concepts into land management practices have had profound impacts on the utilization or exploitation of vast undeveloped areas which are mostly inhabited by indigenous cultural communities or indigenous people. In modern-day societies, land is considered as a 'commodity' and is utilized based on the highest net return which runs counter to the traditional value that people place on land. For instance, the concept of individual or corporate ownership of land is emphasized in legal and social affairs but for indigenous communities, land is communally or community-owned.

In the Philippines, a number of laws and programs on land development and conservation have been promulgated to preserve the vast cultural heritage and fragile ecosystems in the upland areas of Northern Luzon.

This research investigated issues and concerns derived from various laws and programs passed and implemented to regulate the utilization of land. Of particular concern was how the indigenous people's (IPs) concept of land stewardship affected land management and land tenure and the overall impact of land laws and programs.



Recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples and tenured migrants and fostering partnership in land management: the case of the Dumagats of Rodriguez, Rizal


The research investigated how the indigenous cultural communities (lCCs) of the Dumagats inhabiting the Pamitinan Protected Landscape (PPL) and the uplands of Rodriguez, Rizal can be effective partners in land management of the proposed 17,000 ha ancestral domain in Rizal. Using manual scalogram analysis method and the gravity model analysis, the study projected two scenarios in the event of CADT approval over the ancestral domain. Results showed that the local government unit (LGU) of Rodriguez, the DENR and the Marikina Watershed Reservation Management Board (MWRMB) play an important role in enabling the Dumagats on sustainable land management practices. Both scenarios also recognize the danger of urban intrusion into the lands which could result in conflicts between Dumagat and non-Dumagat settlers. To address difficulties in land management, it was recommended that management arrangements led by IPSCO be made with established institutional linkages in updating the municipal comprehensive land use plan and zoning ordinance and with provisions of management capability-building mechanism for the ICCs. It was also recommended that the geographical size of the claimed ancestral domain be reconsidered based on the ICCs capacity to co-manage the area.

In the Philippines, Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and Indigenous Cultural Communities (lCCs) have long occupied vast tracts of lands long before developments brought about by urbanization and formal land titling systems overtook their territories. Commercial and industrial developments may have brought benefits to big businesses and their intended end-users but not to IPs and ICCs who and which have been displaced from their lands due to upland urbanization, commercial logging and mining and construction of dams. Most of these activities were done without realizing that IPs and ICCs could actually be effective partners in the management of these areas provided they are given rights to own lands and are enabled to manage resources as they live and preserve their own unique ways.

With the enactment of R.A. 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (lPRA) in 1997, the applicability of customary laws governing property rights to their ancestral domains or lands which they traditionally occupy was given due recognition. Aside from the IPRA, there are other national policies which recognize the rights of IPs not only in terms of land ownership but also their role in the management of lands where their ancestral domains are located. One of these is DAO 25-92 or the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992 which gives IPs settling within protected areas representation in the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of the respective proclaimed protected area. This provision of the NIPAS gives IPs the right to participate in the decision-making and policy formulation processes involving these protected areas.

This research investigated how the Dumagats, the tenured migrants* of the Pamitinan Protected Landscape (PPL) and those residing in the mountains of the Municipality of Rodriguez, Rizal, can be effective partners in the management of the municipality.



The quest for land ownership in Barangay Santolan, Pasig: a case study on formal and informal land acquisition processes


This research investigated the processes utilized by different individuals or groups, both private and public, including informal settlers, to occupy and/or use land. Actual land procurement and/or utilization practices were then compared against those used by government and private land agencies to determine which processes adopted by each group follow the formal procedure specified in the law. Research data were gathered through interviews of families residing in the disputed property, the claimants, the officials handling land acquisition procedures at the assessor's office and the officials of government agencies, and the examination of land titles, tax declarations, survey maps, and similar documents. Two major conclusions were made in this study: (1) that the legal system regarding land ownership allowed several persons, groups or corporate entities to make simultaneous claims on the same property by virtue of formal application through legal land acquisition processes or by "mere occupation" of a piece of land; and (2) that the confusion about multiple claimants and overlapping titles may be traced to the existence of several modes of land acquisition and the presence of many government agencies that handle similar applications for land acquisitions and titling. Furthermore, it was found that the problem is compounded by the fact that applications made through one office are neither communicated to nor coordinated with the other offices.

To address the perennial flood problem plaguing low-lying areas in Metro Manila, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) launched the Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project (PMRClP), a flood control project which provided the building of a flood control structure along the 27-km stretch of the Pasig River from the mouth at Manila Bay to Barangay Sto. Nino in Marikina City. A component of PMRClP was the proposal to acquire an 80-m parcel of land as right-of-way in Barangay Santolan. The proposal was expected to displace many informal settlers in the area.

Barangay Santolan is one of 30 barangays in Pasig City situated along the banks of the Marikina River upstream of the Mangahan Floodway. It has an aggregate area of 3,100 ha and occupies 5.5% of the city area. Of the 471,075 population of the city, it houses 30,881 representing 6.6% and a total of 7,671 households or a population density of 182 per hectare. A 'near-site' resettlement option was explored to minimize negative socio-economic impact of the project. Vacant lanes for resettlement within the Barangay Santo Ian were identified as potential relocation sites.

In the course of identifying the owners of the vacant lands, the DPWH discovered that very few claimants of the properties had complete documents of ownership (i.e., land titles, Transfer Certificate of Titles, and tax declarations). Most claimants could only produce tax declarations or survey maps, while others forwarded only verbal claims that they had paid for the 'rights' to occupy the land based on the following: that they were able to acquire plots from people who used to farm the land; that they bought the land from its previous occupants or that the barangay gave them permission to live there.

Despite recognizing the need for legal ownership and efforts to secure such, members of the Santolan Neighbourhood Federation (SNFI), through their spokesperson, articulated their desperation citing that even after four terms of presidency since Aquino, they still do not own the lands where their homes are rooted.



The impacts of squatter resettlement on land value and residential real estate development: the case of the Sapang Palay resettlement project in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan


The study investigated the impacts of the Sapang Palay Resettlement Project (SPRP) on land value and residential real estate development in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan using key informant interviews and document analysis. Results show that a negative social perception on San Juan del Monte as the 'home for squatters' and site of various social problems existed in the 70s. This negative appraisal weakened from the early 1980s to 2000 as reflected by improved locational preferences for socialized housing projects in the area. However, the felt tendency of real estate firms to veer away from developments for mid to high-end markets indicates persistent and continuing negative social perceptions which ultimately affect economic prospects in the area.

Historians trace Manila's tenancy problems or the emergence and growth of "squatters" to the reconstruction efforts after the Second World War when waves of migrants from provinces streamed into the metropolis. These migrants hardly had any skill or education to assure jobs, sources of income and other means of sustenance. Without such socio-economic means, they survived by living in makeshift dwellings located along esteros, railroad tracks, parks, vacant public and private lands. These migrants evolved into a loose social class referred to as "squatters".

Squatting is a legal problem involving unlawful use of land (Ordonez 1999). Since the 1950s, one of government's solutions to the squatter problem affecting Manila and its nearby towns was the twin approach of squatter clearance which involved the relocation of these groups to the urban fringe and cities. The solution, relocation or resettlement, was based on the assumption that the problem may be solved simply by providing squatters space or shelter. However, lack of basic services and employment opportunities forced relocated families to abandon the resettlement sites and go back to squatting (Manahan 1992; Ordonez 1999; Racelis 2000; Rebullida et al. 1999).

The Sapang Palay Resettlement Project (SPRP) established in San Jose del Monte in the 1960s, was the first among four relocation sites in the fringes of Metro Manila to be developed. As such, it provides lessons for future resettlement projects. The effects of SPRP on other land-counting issues affecting the larger territory, particularly the host local government unit (LGU) need to be studied. The most obvious and more measurable effect of the project is on land prices and the corresponding type of development it attracted.

Brigham (1965) identifies the determinants of land values to include accessibility, presence of amenities, topography, present and future use, certain historical factors and in addition (Chapin 1972), administrative policies. In San Jose del Monte (SJDM), historical factors such as the stigma of being referred to as the 'home of squatters' because of its proximity to a resettlement site may have exerted permanent impact on amenity levels and land prices. This research investigated the impacts of the SPRP on land value and residential real estate development in SJDM.



Post-title ownership and mortgage study: the case of LAMP pilot communities in Leyte


The study investigated the post-titling impact on ownership, and mortgage and determined the nature of changes in ownership, local land market activities and impact on tenant involvement. Primary data were collected through structured questionnaires and focused-group discussions (FGDs) in four LAMP pilot barangays in San Miguel, Leyte. Descriptive statistics and qualitative analysis were used. Data showed that respondents believed that a title facilitates land transactions since it minimizes risks arising from ownership questions. A significant majority of those surveyed believed that titling also affected land value and even doubled a land's value while 50% of the respondents noted that there was no significant change in the occurrence of property buying and selling after titling. There were no subsequent purchases of lands or cases of foreclosure after the implementation of land titling system in Leyte, hence, no significant change in the profile and patterns of land ownership.

The Land Administration Management Project (LAMP) is a government initiative which aims to support an efficient land market system and alleviate the present low level of confidence in the system of formal land registration. It seeks to contribute to the elimination of poverty and provide security of tenure by providing land-claimants with official land titles at government-subsidized rates.

In general, land titling or the registration of lands is also believed to foster greater security of tenure. With a formal land title, the land claimant's rights and access to the land are protected and thus, they are enabled to make productive use of the land and create further improvements. It likewise facilitates the subsequent transfer of the land or of the right to use the land, which is defined, protected and recognized by others. Land titling is also posited to stimulate agricultural productivity and enhance the living conditions of land claimants. The tenure security that land titling brings further generates efficiency, input demand, and credit supply effects. The efficiency effect of land tenure security captures market mechanisms that allocate land among farmers with different management efficiencies. On the other hand, the input demand effect reflects incentives to invest, especially in capital goods that are attached to the land and the credit supply effect reflects credit constraints that untitled farmers frequently face in formal credit markets (World Bank 1996).

In the Philippines, the systematic titling of LAMP was piloted in Leyte in 2001. However, issues were raised against land titling activities in the country which are alleged to produce contradictory results. The expected increase in the value of the asset subsequent to titling coupled with an increased interest from both formal and informal lenders to extend loans or credit with the title used as collateral often results in greater opportunity for mortgage. However, the amount obtained out of the mortgage is not usually directed into farm investments or improvements but to service the immediate needs of the family thereby failing to improve farm production and income.

The presence of a title also facilitates both land transactions and increased opportunity and incentives for lenders and thus makes foreclosure of mortgages easier. However, with the eventual transfer of rights or change in ownership to the land, tenancy status may likewise be affected. Hence, land titling may reduce tenure security especially of indebted owners who default on their loans and of the poor tenants whose terms and occupation largely depend on the landowners.

To verify these contradictions, this study investigated post-titling condition of ownership and mortgage in four pilot barangays in Leyte.



Determining community perception and preference for land valuation using participatory rural appraisal and focused ­group discussion


The study investigated people's views on land valuation criteria in three villages in Borongan City, Eastern Samar. Primary data was obtained using participatory rural appraisal (PRA) tools and key-informant interviews with community members, government officials with land valuation functions and staff of nongovernment organizations (NGO). Results show that communities consider land area, location, improvements, utilization, and financial access as important valuation criteria. Most of the respondents were not aware of other land criteria such as accessibility, right-of-way, topography and vicinity which are used by some financial institutions. Respondents were also unaware of the schedule of market values set by the local government and many have not attended any public hearings on revision of values. Many residents likewise do not declare their properties or comply with rental laws resulting in dismal tax collection. Other problems affecting land value were lack of government-sponsored housing, rising land prices driven by overseas employment, adverse effects of climate change on land and farming, and increasing rural-urban migration. Respondents expected local government to deliver social services, set up community-based initiatives and support agricultural activities in order to foster participation among community members in land valuation systems and processes.

The province of Eastern Samar spans 597 barangays distributed in 23 municipalities. To date, there has not been any study conducted in the province pertaining to land valuation and processes. The last cadastral survey conducted over 433,965 ha of Eastern Samar was done in 1975. Even then, tax mapping was not conducted for the municipality of Quinapondan while the entire town of Maslog remained unclassified as timberlands.

Various developments in recent years have affected land and its resource value. For instance, Borongan, one of the principal towns in Eastern Samar was included as a component city of the province in June 2007. Eco-tourism initiatives in the town of Guiuan is also booming. Despite these developments, Eastern Samar basically has an agrarian economy, deriving much of its income from revenues in farming and fishing.

The study aimed to determine the perceptions of local communities on land valuation criteria and processes and identify indigenous land valuation processes that are easily understandable and beneficial to residents of Eastern Samar.