PANGLAO – More than half of the land in this fabled tourist town are in the form of Tax Declaration and not under Torrens Title (Transfer of Certificate of Title).
Of late, local and foreign investors and buyers have been turned off from pursuing their purchase of the Panglao land resulting from a Memorandum of the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural resources) suspending until further notice the titling of lands in Panglao and four other tourism areas.
Alongside Panglao are Coron (Palawan), El Nido (Palawan), Puerto Galera (Oriental Mindoro), and Siargao (Surigao) affected by such memorandum signed by ASEC Atty. Manuel T. Cuna on December 18, 2018 -upon orders of DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu. This was confirmed by Rommel Baybayon of the Office of ASEC Cuna.
According to PENRO Bohol Head Charlie Fabre- there are 4,000 potential land pieces for titling in Panglao and emphasized that the suspension only covers Panglao town and not Dauis – both located in Panglao Island. He did not give a specific time that the suspension order will be lifted.
BORACAY AUDIT AFTERMATH
The suspension of the titling in five tourism areas is a direct offshoot of the audit done in the recent clean-up of Boracayisland where it was discovered that some of the land where the present Boracay resorts are standing were illegally titled through the facilitation by the LGUs of land title approval – which were formerly timberland (including mangrove areas).
Under the law, such timberland cannot be issued any title whether Tax Declaration and not especially TCT.
Confirmation of such violation could lead to the revocation of the land titles of these resorts. The December 18,2018 memorandum is, therefore, meant to make the same kind of audit on the land titles of resorts and establishments in the five tourism areas, including Panglao.
SOFTENING OF THE PANGLAO LAND PRICES
The recent establishment of the P9.2 Billion Bohol Panglao International Airport (BPIA) had initially caused the ascension of the land prices in Panglao. Heretofore, after a certain period of time (for others five years), Tax Declaration properties bought could be applied for a genuine title – as long as the taxes are fully paid for.
The suspension which is indefinite – since it is made “until further notice” – has reportedly softened the demand and prices of Panglao lots especially those under Tax Declaration. As it stands, with the directive – purchased Tax Declaration properties when sold will be given the same Tax Dec status and not a Torrens Titles when applied for ownership or for resale.
A group of local businessmen with their Japanese partners meaning to purchase lots in Panglao pulled away from investing since the offered titles were under Tax Dec, according to Macelino “Marjon” Lumayag Jr., a top-notch Boholano real estate broker. And after them knowing about the new controversial DENR directive. Lumayag was asked to look for a titled property, instead.
Presumably, those with titles will now command a higher price with this suspension of titling of the Tax Decs. But overall, the situation will still be bearish since more than half of the Panglao lots are reportedly still under Tax Dec.
The DENR Memorandum appeared to be sweeping since they cover even those lands known for years not to be timberland so much so that a letter of complaint has reportedly been sent by a citizen to the Office of the President to review the order.
Until such time that the order is rescinded after a full audit of the different titles in Panglao – there could be a thinning demand for lands with Tax Dec only.
TAWALA ALONA BEACH AREA EASEMENT PROBLEM
Meanwhile, PENRO’s Fabre indicated that 12 of the 32 establishments found in violation of the 20 meter easement allowance from the highest water level site had voluntarily complied with and destroyed their illegally established structures.
The other remaining 20 establishments ,per Fabre, met with members of the Panglao LGU,DENR and the SangguniangPanlungsod of Panglao , last February 5 to review the physical situation of their property markings and and measurement leading towards the 20 meter salvage zone limit.
Tomorrow, the same group will meet again and reveal the final findings, time line of compliance with the removal of structures and other concerns affecting beach management mainly in the Tawala- Alona Beach area.
It may be recalled that DENR boss Cimatu and NEDA Director Ernesto Pernia last year jointly visited and discovered the lack of waste management facilities of some Panglao establishments and the existence of violations of the 20 meter salvage zone.
People are aware that President Duterte had shown his iron will with respect to environmental issues and called the Boracay island a “massive cesspool” and closed the tourism haven for six months even at the risk of reducing some potential tourism-based GDP (Gross Domestic Product) boosters.
Fabre said he expects all 32 establishments to toe the line at some definite time in the near future-leaving behind the months of temporizing and delaying tactics.
It is believed that potential closure of the operations of these resorts is more financially damaging than compliance with the environmental demands of the government. (BPD lll)17