Can Former Filipino Citizens Own Land in the Philippines?
Based on the National Statistics Office, there are millions of Filipinos living overseas today. These Filipinos are either working or living in their new country as immigrants and permanent residents. And most of these Filipinos still yearn for that chance to own a home in their native land, with a good number of them even longing to retire in the Philippines someday.
The Philippine Constitution, specifically Article XII Section 8, states that natural-born Filipino citizens who have lost their Filipino citizenship may still acquire or be transferees of private lands but subject to limitations provided by law. The transferee may acquire land voluntarily or involuntarily which includes sales on tax delinquency, foreclosures and executions of judgment.
There are 2 laws governing land ownership by former Filipinos, namely, PB 185 which contains the law on land ownership for purpose of establishing residence and the provisions under RA 7042 as amended by RA 8179 which contains specific entitlements and conditions for land ownership for investment or business purposes.
Size of Lands
If land is being purchased for residential purpose, a maximum of 1,000 square meters for urban land and 1 hectare for rural land is imposed; while a maximum of 5,000 square meters for urban land and 3 hectares for rural land is imposed for lands being purchased for investment or business purposes.
Rule Governing Spouses
Either of spouses may avail of the privilege to purchase land. In cases where both spouses want to acquire land, the total area acquired should not exceed the maximum allowed under the purpose for which the land is being acquired (residential or investment/business). If additional land is to be acquired, the total land ownership, including the additional acquisition, shall not exceed the limitations prescribed above.
Limits to Acquisition of Land
A person may acquire not more than two (2) lots which should be located in different cities or municipalities in the Philippines, provided that the total area of these lots does not exceed the following limits:
*For lots acquired for residential purposes, the total area should not exceed 1,000 square meters for urban lands, and should not exceed 1 hectare for rural lands.
*For lots acquired for business or investment purposes, the total area should not exceed 5,000 square meters for urban land and should not exceed 3 hectares for rural lands.
Also, as per provisions of RA 7042 as amended by RA 8179, a person who has already acquired urban land shall be disqualified from acquiring rural land and vice versa.
Use of Land
Acquired lands should be used only for the purpose for which these were purchased. Therefore, lands acquired for residential purposes should be used only as residences and lands acquired for investment or business should be used in the conduct of one’s business or commercial activities including the leasing of these lands but not including the buying and selling thereof.
Transferees of lands to be used for residential purpose (PB 185) should submit, to the Register of Deeds of the province or city where the property is located, a sworn statement stating the following:
* date and place of birth of the transferee;
* names and addresses of transferee’s parents, spouse, and children, if any;
* area, location and mode of acquisition of landholdings in the Philippines, if any;
* transferee’s intention to reside permanently in the Philippines;
* date the transferee lost his/her Philippine citizenship and the country of which heshe is presently a citizen of.
On the other hand, transferees of lands to be used for business and investment purposes (RA 7042 as amended by RA 8179) are required to submit the following to the Register of Deeds of the province or city where the property is located:
* certification of business registration as issued by the Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection of the Department of Trade and Industry;
* sworn statement stating Batas Pambansa 185
* certification from assessor of the municipality or province where the property is located that the subject land being transferred is an urban or rural area
* in case of agricultural lands, a certification from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) that the land is a retained area of the transferor, and an affidavit executed by the transferee attesting that his/her total landholding inclusive of the land to be acquired does not exceed the 5 hectare limit provided under RA 6657, are required.