MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law removing restrictions on land covered by free patents, which would allow farmers to make their land titles immediately tradeable and bankable, providing them access to capital and credit.
Under the Public Land Use Act enacted in 1936, an agricultural free patent is issued to those who have "continuously occupied and cultivated" tracts of agricultural public land.
However, patent holders are prohibited from mortgaging or selling their land within 5 years from the issuance of the patent.
Duterte on Feb. 22 signed Agricultural Free Patent Reform Act which removes this restriction.
"Agricultural fee patent shall now be considered as title in fee simple and shall not be subject to any restriction on encumberance or alienation," read a copy of the law signed by Duterte.
This is expected to "allow the efficient and effective utilization of these lands in order to contribute to wealth creation, entrepreneurship, and economic development," it added.
The law was authored by Sen. Richard Gordon.
– With a report from Joyce Balancio, ABS-CBN News