BAGUIO CITY – City officials recently directed the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO) to issue construction, building or fencing permits to owners of lands covered by Certificate of Ancestral Land Titles (CALTs) and Certificate of Ancestral Domain titles (CADTs) pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 8371 otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997 cited and concurred by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as contained in its Legal Opinion No. 34, series of 2022.
Under Resolution No. 476, series of 2023, local legislators stated that to insist the only title referred to in the National Building code that may be issued a building permit are those titles issued in accordance with the Torrens system of registration will absurdly compel every owner of a parcel of land recognized under a CALT to absurdly renounce the recognition and seek to have his land recognized under the Torrens system.
The council argued that pursuant to Chapter III, Sections 8 and 9 of the IPRA on the rights of the indigenous peoples to their ancestral lands and ancestral domain, CALTs or CADTs which are not canceled or revoked by the courts be issued construction, building or fencing permits.
However, only land owners, their beneficiaries, family members and heirs may secure construction, building or fencing permits.
Further, duly authorized government institutions, organizations or entities in partnership with land owners, through appropriate deed or document allowing usufruct and/or transfer of rights, be allowed to secure building, construction and fencing permits and that private entities or institutions, in collaboration with the appropriate government agencies ad land owners, by way of agreement for the usufruct and development of ancestral lands, may secure construction, building or fencing permits in behalf of the latter.
Moreover, the council argued that the Registry of Deeds (Rod) of Baguio city, being a government institution under the supervision of the DOJ, is directed to acknowledge and give due respect to the validity of CALTs and CADTs with the same degree and manner that the DOJ afforded other titles under the Torrens system or titles being of equal weight and standing and to further allow the ROD to continue to utilize their judicial forms for CALTs as they have done so in the past.
Earlier, CBAO launched a campaign encouraging the regularization of securing a building permit for structures without the said permits in the city.
Presidential Decree (PD) 1096 otherwise known as the National Building code expressly provided that the primary requirement to acquire a building permit is a title.
The council pointed out that CADT and CALT holders have been clamoring for the issuance of building and/or fencing permits from the CBAO for more than a decade since the registration of their lands, however, the same is to no avail
CBAO reportedly made an inquiry in relation to said issue referring to the issuance of building permits to land covered by CALT and CADT.
In its opinion, the DOJ it stated that the requirement with respect to the submission of a Transfer Certificate of title (TCT) may be understood that it is a submission of a document evidencing or recognizing ownership over a real property, which may be construed, to include a valid title over a property, such as a CADT or CALT. Since the CADT or CALT are considered as recognition of ownership, it may be submitted with the building official, in lieu of the Original Certificate of title (OCT) or TCT for the purpose of securing a building permit.