Digital land titling in PHL completed by September 

DAVAO CITY—Land titling in the Philippines is expected to migrate to digital form for improved database information and security, even as Land Registration Authority (LRA) officials still encourage landowners to request a certified copy of their titles.

The LRA has been given up to the end of September to wind up the conversion of all manually encoded and issued land titles, according to Amelia Respicio-Samarita, records officer at the LRA Davao office here.

So far, the office has converted some 90 percent of about 500,000 titles in the Davao City area, with fewer issues encountered, such as ongoing “activities” to the title, which may include, court settlements and deeds of donation.

The LRA, or the Registry of Deeds as they are more known in the cities and towns, is the central depository of all land titles in the country, although other agencies have similar functions related to land titling. These include the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources that issues certificates or titles to converted forested lands, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, which issues certificates of ancestral domain claims, the Department of Agrarian Reform, which issues certificates of land ownership agreement, and the courts, which issues judicial titles.

“But these agencies would still register the titles with the LRA, Samarita said.

Samarita’s examiner-colleague in the LRA, Virgilio de los Reyes, said converting the manually issued land titles would allow greater security for the land title when already encoded in the database, and its flexibility to engage in future transactions and references.

“It allows the land owner to know the status and update of a land title, the payments made, the market valuation,” he said.  He said other government agencies undertaking related functions have also been in discussion for better coordination.

But the LRA could still track any “ongoing activity in the land title,” Samarita said, adding that the other agencies would ultimately go to the LRA in the area to register the title they granted to a particular person or entity.

“So, when one inquiry into the status of their title at our office, the system would send a prompt about any activity,” Samarita said.

The land owner may also view his land area in the LRA computer, or a local LRA office may seek the coordination of another LRA office if a client would inquire about his property somewhere else.

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Manuel Cayon has written about Mindanao for several national newspapers for more than two decades, the most part of it on conflict-reporting, and on the political, insurgency and civil rights front. He also scribbles on the religious and human rights issues for the Thailand-based Catholic news agency as well as he strings for several wire agencies. His stint with then TODAY newspaper started his business reporting obtaining in Mindanao, continuing to this day with BusinessMirror. He received citations and awards, including two Biotechnology awards for reporting. He was a fellow of the US International Visitors’ Program Leadership in 2007 on conflict resolution and alternative dispute resolution. He attended college at the Mindanao State University and the Ateneo de Davao University