Contact person for provided information:
|Concordio D. Zuņiga, CESO III,
Director of Lands Management Bureau
|Information provided on 30
Philippines is one of the South East Asian countries, composed
of around 7,100 islands with a land area of approximately 30 Million
hectares and lying north of the Equator with the South China Sea
on the west and the Pacific Ocean on the east. Specifically, it
is scattered within 4 degrees to 22 degrees Latitudes and 116
degrees to 127 degrees Longitudes.
There are three (3) major group of islands namely : Luzon, Visayas
and Mindanao. Largest group of islands is Luzon with an area of
around 13,900,041 hectares followed by Mindanao with an area of
around 10,671,365 hectares and the Visayas region with an area
of around 5,662,632 hectares. Of the total number of islands,
there are 6,838 islands containing an area of only 5 sq. km. and
below and only 21 islands have an area of 500 sq. km. and above.
The highest peak is Mt. Apo in Davao, Mindanao with an elevation
of 2,954 meters and the longest mountain range is the Sierra Madre
Mountains in Luzon with length of 500 km. stretching from the
northeast portion of Cagayan province down to the southern portion
of Quezon province.
The population of approximately more than 70 million is composed
of several Malayan Ethnic Groups, with significant number of mixed
racial ancestry such as Spanish, Chinese, and Caucasian. There
is a heavy concentration of population in urban areas, majority
of which are in Luzon.
Aborigines reached the Philippines thru land bridges from the
Malay peninsula. Indonesian followed by Malaysian reached the
Philippines by boat. Spanish colonizer reached the Philippines
in 1521. However, several hundred years before them, Chinese traders
were already visiting the archipelago.
The American Government placed the Philippines under its colonial
rule in 1898 thru the Treaty of Paris wherein the Spanish government
transferred its authority over the Philippines to the Americans.
The Philippines became a member of the Commonwealth and at the
end of the World War II, was granted Political Independence by
the American government, although at present, the officially recognized
date of Philippine Independence is June 12, 1898.
Current Political and Administrative
There are three (3) major branches of the government namely, the
Executive headed by the President, the Judiciary - the Supreme
Court headed by the Chief Justice and the Legislative - the Congress
composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The President is elected by popular vote. Senators, like the
President seeks mandate from the majority of voting population
in the entire country every six (6) years while the members of
the House of Representatives are elected by Districts every three
There are seventeen (17) Regions of which one is autonomous,
seventy nine (79) provinces, one thousand four hundred ninety
six (1,496) municipalities one hundred fourteen (114) cities and
forty one thousand nine hundred fourty five (41,945) barangays.
The provinces are headed by governors, the municipalities and
cities by mayors, all are elected by popular votes.
Historical Outline of Cadastral
The Cadastral survey program in the Philippines may be said to
have its beginning as early as 1903 when the American Civil Government
in the Philippines purchased in 1902, some 410,000 hectares of
friar lands and had them surveyed and allocated to the occupants
under a scheme of agrarian reform. Actual inauguration of cadastral
survey projects under the present numbering system however, begun
in November 1909 with the first project numbered as Cadastral
Project No. 1 covering the town of Pilar Province of Bataan. American
surveyors exclusively conducted the cadastral survey from 1909
to 1915. The participation of American surveyors was gradually
reduced until 1921 when the execution of surveys were all done
by Filipino surveyors. The formalization of the cadastral survey
program took shape with the passage of Cadastral Act, Act 2259,
on February 11, 1913. This has become the formal mandate that
authorized the Director of Lands to conduct cadastral surveys.
Act 2259, provided the mechanism for the compulsory registration
of all landholdings covered by cadastral survey. Land titling
thru Torrens System is the primary objective of the cadastral
survey. The main output is a line map and the metes and bounds
of each parcel surveyed and other data that relate to land ownership
or land tenure.
In the Philippines, the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources (DENR) thru the Lands Management Bureau/Lands Management
Services, is mandated to administer and manage public lands, government
owned lands and all other lands not placed under other government
agencies by virtue of Commonwealth Act 141, as amended, otherwise
known as the Public Land Act, Cadastral Act 2259, Republic Act
No. 6657 otherwise known as Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law.
There are two (2) processes of acquiring title, one is judicial
and the other is administrative. In judicial titling there are
two (2) proceedings, one is ordinary judicial proceeding which
is governed by Property Registration Decree, Presidential Decree
1529 and the cadastral proceedings which is governed by the Cadastral
Act, Act 2259. In both cases, it is the Court that issues order
In the administrative process, the disposition of lands by administrative
titling (patents) is vested in the DENR Secretary through the
Director of Lands. With the promulgation of Executive Order 192,
it was further delegated to the Regional Executive Directors (REDs)
and the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officers
(PENROs), depending on the land area involved. With the aforementioned
systems, therefore, there are four (4) government agencies involved
in surveying and titling activities, namely, DENR/LMB/LMS, Department
of Agrarian Reform (DAR), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples
(NCIP) all through Administrative titling, and the Judicial Court,
Regional Trial Court (RTC) and/or the Municipal Trial Court (MTC)
for Cadastral proceedings.
Private Sector Involvement:
The Cadastral Survey Projects in its earlier years were executed
solely by the Bureau of Lands surveyors. However, with the passage
of Act 2989 which allowed private surveyors to undertake cadastral
projects upon assignment by the Bureau of Lands, cadastral survey
program was accelerated. The law was amended by Act 3327 which
authorized private cadastral surveyors to negotiate cadastral
surveys with the local government units concerned but with the
technical supervision being provided for by the Bureau of Lands.
Professional Organization or
Surveyors, now known as Geodetic Engineers, are organized into
a professional organization called "Geodetic Engineers of the
Philippines, Inc." (GEP) comprising of around 5,816 geodetic engineers
and about 7,000 junior (associate) geodetic engineers. They are
grouped into Regional and Provincial Chapters. Annual assemblies
are also being held and grouped as North Luzon Area Assembly,
South Luzon Area Assembly, Visayas Area Assembly and Mindanao
Area Assembly. Furthermore, Annual National Convention is also
being held wherein the Board of Governors are elected by the members
and in turn, the Board of Governors elect from among themselves
their GEP National Officials.
A representative of the GEP National Board sits as one of the
members of the Bidding and Award Committee during the conduct
of the Cadastral Survey Project bidding. This is to ensure that
there will be impartiality among members of the Committee in the
conduct of the bidding process; that the technical requirements
are of the highest standard possible; and that the price of the
project is reasonable; etc.
The GEP was admitted and registered as member of FIG during the
incumbency of Dir. Concordio D. Zuņiga as National President of
GEP in 1993-1994 but was delisted for non-payment of dues when
he was no longer the National President of said organization.
The Board of Geodetic Engineers under the Professional Regulation
Commission (PRC) is tasked to give examinations to the aspiring
geodetic engineers. Basically, there are five (5) subjects covered
by the licensure exam, to wit: Mathematics, Geodesy, Land Laws,
Cartography and Theory and Practice.
The examination is held twice a year, every February and August.
In order to be eligible to take the exam, an applicant must be
a holder of Bachelor Degree in Geodetic Engineering (BSGE).
BSGE as a five (5) year course, is offered by only eight (8) universities:
two (2) in Northern Luzon, one (1) in Central Luzon, two (2) in
the Metro Manila, one (1) in Bicol Region, one (1) in Visayas
and one (1) in Mindanao.
Annually, less than one hundred (100) students are graduating
in the course and around half are able to pass the Board Exam.
The course, basically includes the following subject: plain surveying,
geodetic surveying, laws on natural resources, land laws, mathematics,
astronomy, cartography, photogrammetry, cadastral surveying, lithography,
least squares, hydrography, route surveying, mining surveying,
land use planning, photo-interpretation, gravimetry, remote sensing,
satellites surveying and computer science. Mathematics subjects
are scattered from first year to fifth year, from algebra to calculus
Only three (3) out of ten (10) students are women and around
forty percent (40%) are working students.
Purpose of Cadastral System:
The Cadastral Survey in the Philippines is a survey made of extensive
areas covering an entire municipality or city consisting of several
or many parcels of land undertaken for the purpose of title clearance
and land registration.
Cadastral Act 2259 which govern Cadastral Survey, is intended
primarily for the purpose of quieting title to any land within
a particular area by way of compulsory registration proceedings
and thus minimize land conflicts.
The owners of lots surveyed must lay claim to their land holdings
and must prove their ownership during the subsequent court proceedings
because failure on their part to do so may give the court no choice
but to declare these lands as public lands.
Agricultural development, realization of Municipal Land Use Plan
and more accurate Tax Mapping, are some of the benefits that may
result upon completion of the Cadastral Survey in the area.
Types of Cadastral Systems:
There are two (2) types of Cadastral System in the Philippines,
one is Graphical Cadastre (Fig. 1) and the other is Numerical
or Regular Cadastre (Fig. 2).
These two (2) systems can be executed either by ground method
or by aerial photogrammetry. Basically, numerical cadastre is
associated with surveying while graphical cadastre, with mapping.
While the Numerical Cadastre produces bearings and distances
of boundary lines of lots with the area up to the hundredths of
a meter (derived from computations), the graphical cadastre simply
gives the shapes of the lots with the distances of the boundary
lines derived from scaling the lines on the maps and the area
determined by scaling or planimeter or by templates.
The Graphical Cadastre was discontinued in favor of the more
accurate Numerical Cadastre.
The primary objective of the cadastral survey is land titling.
Any land use information that are obtained in the process are
gathered not for economic development purposes as we perceive
them to be at present but for additional information in support
of tenure or legal hold.
Every parcel of lot in the coverage area of a cadastral survey
project is assigned a lot number which shall be done consecutively
from one and without duplication. An assigned lot number in one
barangay (barrio) cannot be assigned to a certain lot in another
barangay (barrio) of the coverage municipality.
The project is divided into cases. The procedure is, one case
for every barangay regardless of whether one barangay is less
than 1,000 lots or more than 1,000 lots. However, the Bureau of
Lands, realizing the urgency of the need to finish soonest possible
the cadastral survey in the entire country, it resorted to contracting
the cadastral projects by Module, wherein one (1) Module consists
of one (1) barangay. A municipality with twelve (12) barangays
may have twelve (12) cadastral survey module contractors. All
the said modules will bear the same Cadastral Survey Number.
Normally, one (1) title covers one (1) lot. However, there are
instances that a single title encompasses two (2) or more lots
within the same barangay, more often, the said lots are adjoining.
The titles contain among others, the tie point, technical description
of the lot itself, the metes and bounds, the area, and the adjoining
man-made and natural features.
Content of Cadastral System:
The following are the output of the Cadastral Surveys:
- Cadastral Maps (CM) indicating individual parcels and their
actual geographic position.
- Lot Data Computation Books
- Lot Description Books
- Monument Description Books
- Technical Description of all lots within the Cadastre
- Geographic Positions of Reference Points
- Land Use Maps and Land Use Registers
- Political Boundary Maps
- Tax Maps used for Realty Tax Valuation/Collection
- List of all claimants/occupants or owners of lands
- Cadastral Cost Registers
- Miscellaneous data land surveys, land disposition and titling,
occupancy, profiles and other land and survey information needed
for planning and for land management purposes.
A Cadastral Survey returns as listed above is basically composed
of textual (non-spatial) data such as Lot Description Books, Lot
Data Computation Sheets, List of Claimants, etc. and Spatial Data
made up of complex geographic objects including network of lines
such as lots, roads, rivers, etc.
The numbers of concrete monument and the description of lot corners
are indicated on the Cadastral maps and also the name of claimants
except when space limitation does not permit it. The respective
lot numbers are indicated normally, in consecutive and regular
order. Forest Lands, Reservations and other unalienable are also
treated as one lot but with remarks as Forest Land, Military Reservation,
The Cadastral maps also show the names of all claimants adjoining
the projects boundaries as well as the lines between the adjoining
claims which are drawn in dash lines. Adjoining approved surveys
are indicated by the lot and the corresponding survey number and
name of claimant.
Local names of natural features such as mountains and all bodies
of waters such as rivers, esteros, arroyos, etc. are indicated
on the Cadastral Maps. The names of barangays (barrios) are also
indicated within their respective boundaries. Easements are indicated
either three (3), twenty (20), or forty (40) meters depending
on the classification of land.
When Cadastral lot is equivalent to a previously approved survey,
both the cadastral number and the number of previously approved
survey are indicated.
Grid lines and plane coordinates, graticule lines and geographic
coordinates, survey control stations and traverse lines, political
boundaries and monuments and Reference/Location Monuments are
All lands within a Cadastral Survey Project, in the absence of
titles are presumed public lands. For this reason, all claims
therein are contestable by the government. During the Cadastral
hearing, the Director of Lands, as representative of the Government
sees to it that land rights are properly settled and adjudicated,
should a claimant fail to prove his claim, the land will be declared
public by the court in accordance with the claim of the government.
It is for this reason, that during the conduct of survey, all
owners of properties, titled or not, cannot refuse to have his
Cadastral proceeding is a judicial proceeding because it is in
the court that land titles are settled and adjudicated. It is
in rem, because it is instituted against the whole world to bar
indefinitely all those who might be minded to make objections
of any sort against the right sought to be established, that is,
the title to the property.
As of December 2002, the status of Cadastral Survey in the Philippines
is as follows:
- From a total of 1,496 municipalities, there are 827 with
approved cadastral survey, 321 are in-progress, 280 are partially
surveyed, 65 are still unsurveyed and 3 are abandoned.
- Out of 114 cities, 89 are with approved cadastral surveys,
16 are in-progress, 9 are partially surveyed and there is no
Cadastral surveys in-progress is either with on-going fieldwork
or the survey returns are being verified in the different DENR
Regional Lands Management Services.
Partially surveyed municipalities have a previously approved
public land subdivision, group settlement survey, and/or townsite
reservation subdivision. The said surveys cover only certain portion
of the city or municipality, unlike the Cadastral Survey which
encompasses the entire municipality.
The municipalities and cities with approved cadastral surveys
covers 4,487,311 lots with a total area of 17,848,035 hectares,
roughly 59% of the total area of the country. However, the data
stored in the different Regional Offices of the DENR are still
all in hard copies not in digital forms. Computer-based Land Information
System and digital mapping project is hampered by funding constraints.
Cadastral lots and other details of the cadastral surveys are
plotted on reproducible materials such as drafting film 0.003
inch with polyster or mylar encompassing areas within spheroidal
quadrangle of one minute of arc in latitude and one minute of
arc in longitude (approximately 1.8 km by 1.8 km) and drawn in
the Philippine Plane Coordinate System Philippine Reference System
of 1992 (PPCS-PRS92). Cadastral Map sheets are approximately 54
by 54 centimeters in size and carries a standard scale of 1:4,000.
Sectional Cadastral Maps are drawn on larger scale such as 1:2,000;
1:1,000; 1:500; on the same size as the standard cadastral maps
to show tracts of land which appears too small on the standard
scale of 1:4,000. These lots are usually residential lots in the
poblacion or town proper.
Contiguous Cadastral Maps (CCM) on a smaller scale of 1:8,000
or 1:16,000, show parcels of lands which are too big to be contained
on the standard scale of 1:4,000. These lots are forestlands,
reservations and big undivided land holdings consisting of hundreds
or thousands of hectares within a municipality.
All public lands within cadastral projects are shown on the cadastral
maps with separate lot numbers. Previously approved surveys are
also shown with their respective survey numbers and equivalent
cadastral lot number and with corresponding remark either "Accepted",
"Amended", or "Rejected".
Cadastral maps are being used as projection maps in the different
DENR Regional Offices which enable them to be periodically updated.
However, there are Cadastral Maps which are incomplete, especially
those pre-war Cadastral Surveys, and therefore, not being updated.
The DENR Regional Offices uses blank 54 x 54 cm. tracing paper
as projection maps in lieu of the Cadastral Maps.
Example of a Cadastral Map:
Attached herewith are examples of two (2) types of Cadastral Maps,
Figure 1, shows the graphical Cadastral Map, Cadastral Mapping
(symbol: Cadm), and Figure 2, shows the numerical (regular) Cadastral
Survey Map (symbol: Cad).
In Cadmapping, the survey control is executed on the ground but
the lot corners are determined by plane table and alidade or transit
and stadia. The area is graphically estimated.
The Regular Cadastre calls for accurate survey and therefore,
the survey control points and all lot corners are directly observed.
Lot area is determined by computation.
Fig. 1: Graphical Cadastral Map
Fig. 2: Numerical Cadastral Map
Role of Cadastral Layer in SDI:
The completion of Cadastral program will provide the Philippines
a springboard for land-based development. The program envisions
to achieve the following goals:
A. National Goals such as:
- Promotion of social development and social justice.
- Improvement of habitat through development of human settlements
and proper management of environment.
- Accelerated regional development especially the rural areas.
- Attainment of self-sufficiency in food and greater self-reliance
- Maintenance of internal security and harmonious international
B. The Executive Branch Goals such as:
- To provide comprehensive and accurate data on land resources
of the country.
- To accelerate settlement and adjudication of land titles.
- To facilitate and accelerate public land management and
- To provide a basis for an integrated tax mapping system
and land evaluation.
- To provide an effective base to accelerate the land use
and classification for socialized housing programs.
- To delineate the boundaries of all political subdivisions
in the country.
- To provide economic data for land based developmental studies
- To provide mapping basis for land zoning and land use programming.
In spite of the introduction of computers in the operation of
several government activities, the retrieving, updating and tracking
of Cadastral Maps and other data are being done manually.
The land sector through the years has experienced remarkable
increase in clientele and in number of records to manage. However,
it cannot cope with this situation due to several reasons such
as funding constraints, existing auditing rules and regulations,
lack of manpower, etc. This was aggravated by inadequate space,
poor storage facilities and frequent transfer of offices. Fire
and natural calamities such as floods also contributed to the
lost and damage of valuable records and documents.
Proliferation of fake survey plans and land titles, are becoming
a problem of the government. The absence of reference data from
Cadastre on file with the Lands Management Bureau (LMB)/Regional
Lands Management Services (LMS) make it harder to detect such
Survey plans, lot area computation sheets, technical descriptions,
etc. are not issued Memorandum Receipt (MR) to employees unlike
chairs, tables, typewriters, etc. making it vulnerable to pilferage.
Several projects are being eyed by the government to address the
above-noted problems such as Land Records Management and Information
System (LRMIS) and Land Administration and Management Project
(LAMP). Their aim, among others, is to automate land records.
With fully computerized Cadastral Information System, the government
hopes to achieve the following:
- The Land/Cadastral data/information can be shared with
other government offices as well as the requesting public
as quickly as possible.
- The system can be used in expediting processing of documents
and verification and approval of public land application and
subsequent subdivision/consolidation surveys.
- The documents/maps can be reproduced as many as required
copies at instant wherein the files will be free from incidence
of tampering, mishandling or even losses.
- The documents, data and spatial images can be sort, retrieve
and tract easily as the need arises.
- Digital Spatial and textual data can reduce the storage
space requirement of voluminous documents such as maps and
other survey returns to just 30%.
- Act 2259 or Cadastral Act.
- DENR Administrative Order No. 98-12, the Revised Manual of
Land Surveying Regulations in the Philippines.