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LAW ON NATURAL RESOURCES 1.

COVERAGE OF THE SUBJECT Our laws on the subject are characterized with a marked tendency towards the NATIONALIZATION AND CONSERVATION of our lands and other natural resources. Our Constitution gives emphasis on the INJUNCTION set forth in its preamble to conserve and develop our patrimony Art. XIV declaring state ownership of such natural resources and providing for the manner by which they may be disposed of. Pertinent Laws: 1. The Public Land Act ( Commonwealth Act No. 141, as amended) 2. The Mining Act (Commonwealth Act No 137, as amended and as further amended by RA 7942, the Philippine Mining Act of 1995) 3. The Petroleum Act of 1949 ( RA No. 387 as amended) 4. The Coal Land Act and PD No. 972 5. The Forest Law ( Revised Administrative Code of 1917;Commonwealth Act No. 452; PD Nos. 389 and 705, the latter being the Forest Reform Code 6. The Water Code of the Philippines ( PD No. 1067) 7. The Fisheries Act ( Act No. 4003 as amended) and PD Nos. 43 and 704 NATURAL RESOURCES: CONCEPT AND DISPOSITION NATURAL RESOURCES refer to material objects of economic value and utility to man produced by nature. They constitute the patrimony of the nation.

The 1987 Constitution enumerates our natural resources, as well as thosethat can be alienated. It also provides for the CONTROL by the State over their EXPLORATION, DEVELOPMENT AND UTILIZATION and the MANNER by which they may be utilized, explored and developed. Thus Art XII, Sec 2 of the 1987 Constitution provides: All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned by the state. With the exception of agricultural lands, all natural resources shall not be alienated. The exploration, development and utilization of natural resources shall be under the FULL CONTROL and SUPERVISION of the State. The State may DIRECTLY undertake such activities, OR may enter into co-production, joint venture, or production sharing agreements with Filipino citizens or corporations, associations at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens. Such agreement may be for a period NOT EXCEEDING TWENTY FIVE years, renewable for NOT MORE THAN TWENTY FIVE years, and such terms and conditions as may be provided by law. In cases of water rights for irrigation, water supply, fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development of water power, beneficial use may be the measure and limit of the grant. The State shall protect the nations marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens. The Congress may, by law allow small-scale utilization of natural resources by Filipino citizens, as well as cooperative fish farming, with priority to subsistence fishermen and fishworkers in rivers, lakes, bays and lagoons.

The President may enter into agreement with foreign owned corporations involving either technical or financial assistance for LARGE-SCALE exploration, development, or utilization of minerals, petroleum, and other mineral oils according to the general terms and conditions provided by law, based on real contributions to the economic growth and general welfare of the country.

In such agreement the State shall promote the development and use of local scientific and technical resources. The President shall notify the Congress of every contract entered into in accordance with this provision, within thirty days from its execution.

IMPORTANCE OF NATURAL RESOURCES In the Philippines we look upon our natural resources as our exclusive heritage and we are called upon to preserve them for ourselves and our posterity. Preamble: establishment of a government that shall conserve and develop our patrimony Alien ownership of land and other natural resources would tend to result in international complications: gradual extension of foreign influence into our politics would increase the possibility of foreign control, posing danger to our internal security and independence Delegate Enrique J.C. Montilla during the 1935 Constitutional convention expressed his view on such question of national import, to wit: Lands and natural resourcesare immovable and as such can be compared to the vital organs of a persons body, the lack of possession of which may cause instant death or the shortening of life. If we do not nationalize these two of our most important belongings, I am afraid that the time will come when we shall be sorry for the time we were born. Our independence willjust be a mockery, for what kind of independence are we going to have if a part of our country is not in our hands but in

those of foreigners?.(Aruego, The Framing of the Philippine Constitution, Vol.2,p.592) State assumed a more dynamic role in the exploration, development and utilization of natural resources under the Constitution With the effectivity of the 1987 Constitution, the provisions of the law dealing on license, concessions and license of mineral resources under PD 463, as amended have been repealed. It is now through DIRECT act of the State or it may enter into co-production, joint venture, or production sharing agreement, or it may enter into agreement with foreign-owned corporations involving technicalor financial assistance for large scale exploration, development and utilization of minerals, petroleum, and other mineral oils according to the general terms and conditions provided by law, based on real contributions to the economic growth and general welfare of the country, ( Art XII, Sec 2, 1987 Constitution: Miners Association of the Philippines, Inc. vs. Factoran, Jr.et al 240 SCRA 100, Jan.16, 1995) On July 25, 1987, Pres. Corazon Aquino issued an E.O. No. 279 authorizing the DENR Secretary to negotiate and conclude joint venture, co-production, or production sharing agreements for the exploration, development and utilization of mineral resources, and prescribing the guidelines for such agreements involving technical or financial assistance by foreign-owned corporations for large scale exploration, development and utilization of minerals. The Supreme Court said that the DENR Secretary has the power to issue Administrative Orders to accomplish the purposes of the law under which they were issued and were intended to secure the paramount interest of the public, their economic growth and welfare. Lands of Public Domain

The term public domain is synonymous to public dominion or public ownership, as distinguished from private ownership. Under the 1987 Constitution there is a classification of lands of the public domain, thus:

Lands of Public Domain 1. Agricultural 2. Forest or timber 3. Mineral lands 4. National parks Agricultural lands of public domainmay further classify according to the USES to which they may be devoted. Alienable lands of public domain may be limited to AGRICULTUAL LANDS. Private Corporationsor associationsmay not hold such alienable lands of the public domain except by LEASE: not more than 1,000 hectares/not exceeding 25 years/renewable for not more than25 years Citizens of the Philippines may LEASE: 500 hectares or not acquire more than 12 hectares thereof by purchase, homestead, or grant Agricultural land of thepublic domain may be further classified according to their USE by the PRESIDENT. Other lands of public domain may be classified or reclassified from time to time and will remain as such until it is releasedtherefrom or rendered open to disposition or concession by the government in the manner provided by law Alienable public land held openly, continuously and exclusively for the prescribed period is converted to private property by mere lapse or completion of said period ipso jure. ( Pineda vs. CA, 183 SCRA 602)

Other lands of public domain cannot be acquired by prescription unless they are first classified as agricultural lands and so released for alienation.

Classification of public lands is an EXCLUSIVE prerogative of the Executive Department of the Government and not of the courts.

Public Agricultural Lands Under the 1987 Constitution, the term agricultural lands are those that are neither timber nor mineral lands. Act of Congress of July 1, 1902 and the first Public land Act No. 926 those public lands acquired from Spain which are neither mineral nor timber lands. Test: It is not necessarily whether it is actually devoted to agriculture or it is susceptible to cultivation for agricultural purposes but because it is originally agricultural and may again becomeso under other circumstances (Krivenko vs. Register of Deeds of Manila, 79 Phil.461) Public Forests Forest large tract of land covered with natural growth of trees andunder bush: a large wood. It does NOT embrace land only partly woodland It is an organic whole in which all parts, although apparently heterogeneous, jumbled together by accident as it were and apparently unrelated, bear a close relation to each other and are interdependent as any other beings and conditions in nature (Ramosvs. Dir. of Lands, 39 Phil.175)

Where the area in question is aforest or timber land : certification made by Bureau of Forest Development, approved by the President Prescription will not lie against the State. The right of reversion or reconveyance to the State is not barred by prescription under Commonwealth Act No. 141.

Mineral lands Any land contains mineral for that matter. But it is necessary to show that it is more valuable for mining purposes than for anything else. as such quantities as to justify expenditures in the effort to extract them and which are more valuable for the minerals they contain than for agricultural orother uses. Presumption As to Nature of Particular Land In case of doubt, it was rightly held that in the absence of evidence to the contrary any land may be presumed to be AGRICULTURAL. ( Ackron vs. Govt of the Phil, 40 Phil.10) Hence, when the claim of the citizen and the claim of the government regarding the nature of a particular piece of land are in conflict, the burden of proof lies to the government Development of Natural resources is limited to Filipinos or Corporations 60 percentumof which is controlled by Filipinos PUBLIC LANDS: ALIENABLE AND DISPOSABLE LANDS IN GENERAL Meaning of Public Lands

The term public lands refers to such lands of the public domain as are subject to alienation and disposal of the State in accordance with the Public Land Act. Acts of Congress of the United State national domain under its legislative power as has not yet been subjected to private right or devoted to public use Decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, public lands is held to be equivalent to public domain. It does not by any means include all lands of government ownership, but only so much of said lands as are thrown open to private appropriation and settlement by homestead and other similar general laws. Government Land vs. Public Lands Government Land more extensive and embraces not only the second but also other lands of the government already reserved or devoted to public use or subject to private right Friar Lands, to which the Government of the Philippines holds title, are NOT public lands but they are of government ownership just the same as its private or patrimonial property (Jacinto vs. Dir. of Lands, 49 SCRA Phil. 853) Lands not belonging to anybody public ownership under RegalianDoctrine or under the Constitution of the Philippines, for the simple reason that they have no known or recognized owner Where part of the public lands has been legally appropriated or acquired by a private individual, the same they be deemed segregated from the mass of the public lands and no law or proclamation therafter made or issued relating to public lands shall operate upon it ( Central Capiz vs. Ramirez, 40 Phil,883) Land registered asearly as 1901 by means of possessory information, the land in question was OUTSIDE the field of public lands and its ownership could not be affected by subsequent issuance of a free patent

by the Director of Lands in favour of another person ( Garcia vs. Dinero, 80 Phil.474) Officers Charged with the Administration of Public Lands Secretary of Natural Resources chief executive officer charged to carry out the provisions of the Public Land Act Director of Lands- under the immediate supervision of theDENR Secretary Duties: a. Direct executive control over surveys, classifications, leases, sales and other forms of concession or disposition and management of public lands; b. Preparation and issuance of forms, instructions, rules and regulations as may be necessary and proper to carry into effect the provisions of the Public Land Act, and for the conduct of proceedings arising thereunder, subject to the approval of the Secretary( Commonwealth Act No. 141, sections 3,4, and 5) c. Quasi-judicial officer- he makes findings of fact and even passes upon questions of mixed fact and law, and considers and decides the qualifications of applicantsfor the purchase of public lands. Note: The decision on the construction of the Public Land Act are entitled a great respect by the courts. The decisions of the Director of Lands as to question of facts are conclusive when approved by the Secretary (Doctrine of Primary Jurisdiction) d. He represent the state in a reversion proceedings and may file an action for the cancellation of patent and title acquired through fraud e. Regulate the occupation or provisional use of public lands

Note: For administration purposes, land districts have been established throughout the Philippines, each district is headed by a local land officer embracing one province Reversion of land acquired through fraud The uncontroverted rule is that, the doctrine of indefeasibility of Torrens Title does not bar the filing of an action for cancellation of title and reversion of land even if more than one year has elapsed from the issuance of the free patent in case of fraud in obtaining it. ( Rep. vs. CA, et al. GR No. 104296, March 29, 1996) Classification of Alienable and Disposable Lands For the administration and disposition of alienable and disposable lands, they are classified under the Public Land Law according to the use and purposes to which such lands may be destined, as follows: 1. Agricultural ( farm land) 2. Residential, commercial, industrial, or for similar productive purposes; 3. Educational, charitable, or other similar purposes; and 4. Reservations for town sites and for public and quasi-public uses The President upon recommendation of the Secretary of DENR is authorized to make the above classification as well as to transfer lands from one class to another from time to time as circumstances may warrant ( Com Act No. 141., Sec. 9) Under the Revised Administrative Code, alienable lands of the public domain may be ordered reserved by the President for specific purpose or service Old Constitution: they all form under the category of agricultural lands, they not being forest nor mineral lands. Under Public Land Act term agricultural is used in a limited sense, and is meant distinctly as a farmland.

Prerequisite for Disposition Before any public land may be alienated or disposed of, it is indispensable that there be a formal declaration by the President upon recommendation of the Secretary of DENR to the effect that such lands are open to disposition or concession, and whenever practicable the lands should have been previously surveyed. Alienation or disposition or concession as used in Public Land Act is meant any of the methods authorized by the said law for the acquisition, lease, use or benefit of the lands of the public domain other than timber or mineral land. Modes of Disposition 1. For homestead settlement 2. Sale 3. Lease 4. Confirmation of imperfect or incomplete title 5. Judicial legalization 6. Administrative legalization ( free patent) Application for Grant of Public Land All applications for public land grants or concessions are to be addressed to the Director of Lands, made under oath, and must set forth, (see p.26) Applicant Required to Work on the Land by Himself

Requirements of the Public Land Act, by PD No. 152 issued on March 13, 1973- that the applicant or his transferee must enter and work upon, improve and cultivate the lands by HIMSELF within the periods prescribed for the various modes of concession under the Public Land Act

Tenancy: a ground for the denial of application, cancellation of the grant and forfeiture of improvements on the land in favor of the Government

Appeals from Decision of Director of Lands Decision of the Director of Lands may be annulled or reviewed only in a DIRECT PROCEEDING and not collaterally. Remedies: 1. File a motion for reconsideration /motion for new trial If denied: appeal to the Secretary of DENR Resources 3. Appeal to the President: within 30 days upon receipt of the decision of the DENR Secretary and the decision of the President becomes final and executory after the lapse of 15 days from the receipt of the copy thereof by the parties involved unless an MR is timely filed based on grounds: 1. Decision not inconformity with the applicable law or evidence presented 2. Newly discovered evidence Exhaustion of Administrative remedy or 4. File an action in court Non-exhaustion of administrative remedies: there is an absence of a cause of action Note: The decision of the Director of Lands becomes final after the said period unless a motion for reconsideration is filed or unless an appeal to the Secretary is taken The decision of the Secretary becomes final after 30 days from the date of service thereof to the party in interest, on questions of facts. 2. Appeal the decision of the Director of Lands to the Secretary of Natural

The above rule on exhausting administrative remedies, does NOT apply to 1. private lands acquired by the government by purchase for resale to individuals. ( Baladjay vs. Castrillo) 2. purely legal questions indicating urgency of judicial intervention

Time within which to Appeal Administrative Decision to Court The law does NOT fix any period for the purpose of taking the matter to the courts after final decision in the executive branch of the government: but it should be within reasonable depends upon the circumstances of the case Note: an appeal from a decision of the Secretary of DENR to the President, NOT a condition sine qua non for the exhaustion of administrative remedies before resorting to judicial review Rule 43: Appeal: Quasi-Judicial Agencies to the CA