Reengineering Land Administration in the Philippines: A Policy Brief

Definition. Land administration is the process of gathering, recording and disseminating information about the ownership, value and use of land and its associated resources. Such process includes the adjudication of rights in relation thereto.

Purpose. Land administration exists for a purpose, which is to achieve specific policy objectives of the government. Traditionally, the policy objective has been simply to delineate property rights. However, in modern times, the objectives have diversified as the functions of government have evolved. In the Philippine context, these objectives will include the creation of a land market, land reform, environmental protection, recognition and promotion of the rights of indigenous cultural communities, and efficient resource allocation and management. All of these are interrelated and fall under the general rubric of good governance and sustainable development.

Information. The main product or commodity of a system of land administration system is information. As a commodity, it should be tailor-made to fit all the needs of the various stakeholders in a timely manner. The stakeholders are those who generate or use the information because either they implement, are substantially affected by, or are interested in the specific policy objectives involved.

In the Philippine context, they include property holders, local and foreign investors, landlords, tenants, real estate developers, indigenous cultural communities, NGOs, interest groups, the academe, and government instrumentalities and agencies such as the DENR, DAR, LRA, NCIP, BIR, DOF, LBP, NAMRIA, HLURB, and the local governments. For example, in order to incentivize the creation of a land market, information on the economic characteristics of the land must be readily available to local and foreign investors in a form susceptible of easy commodification.

Since these policy objectives are interrelated, the information pertaining to them are also necessarily interrelated. Thus, the needs of modern governance require that the information be: (1) corporatized or readily available to all stakeholders and not treated as the domain of any government agency; and (2) integrated through decision maps which overlay all the available information on land and associated resources so that stakeholders have all the relevant information at hand for decision making.

The Fundamental Problem. In the intelligence community, there is what is called the intelligence cycle consisting of direction, collection, processing, analysis, dissemination and feedback. The most fundamental problem of Philippine land administration is that it does not possess all the information needed to completely delineate property rights of the government and private persons in the country. It is the most fundamental problem since the other policy objects cannot be achieved without resolving this one first. It represents a failure of intelligence which can be traced to the very beginning of the intelligence cycle – direction and collection.

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