Committee approves Surigao public domain bill

After a long wait, the members of the Committee on Natural Resources in the House of Representatives, in its 15th Congress, finally approved House Bill (HB) 1719 – “An Act declaring as agricultural land certain parcels of land of the public domain situated within the city of Surigao in Surigao del Norte province.”

Rep. Guillermo A. Romarate Jr. (2nd District, Surigao del Norte) said the House Committee Report No. 485 was signed and submitted by the committee members led by Rep. Francisco T. Matugas, chairman of the Committee on Environment, and Representatives Jesus Emmanuel M. Paras, Rep. Nelson L. Dayanghirang, Rep. Rodel B. Batocabe, Rep. Bernardo M. Vergara, Rep. Deogracias
B. Ramos, Jr. and Rep. Teddy B. Baguilat Jr., as vice chairmen.

Matugas and Romarate were the co-authors of House Bill 1719. Key provisions under HB 1719 include: declaring a total of 649.3466 hectares of public forest lands located within Surigao City as agricultural lands (alienable or disposable); distribution of the lands into residential lots shall be implemented in accordance with the provisions of Commonwealth Act No. 141 of the Public Land Act and Republic Act No. 730 (sale Without Public Auction of Public Lands to Qualified Applicants under certain conditions), and other applicable public land laws; and for conservation and environmental protection purposes, the 20-meter strip of land on both sides of rivers and creeks shall remain as forest lands.

According to Romarate, the objectives of HB 1719 is to provide a legal basis for the distribution of certain government lands to their actual occupants and support the urban land reform policy of the government, especially for the landless residents of this city.

These parcels of land are specifically located in the villages of Taft, Canlanipa, and Cagniog, all of the city proper here.

“This is the good news and the Senate led by Senator Migs Zubiri already assured us for the fast-tracking of the House Bill in the Senate,” added Romarate. (MUC/MB)

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