Cadastral survey completion is ‘one hurdle’ less for land development


Cadastral survey completion is ‘one hurdle’ less for land development


Two barangays are at odds on the issue of territorial boundaries. In some instances, contenders are municipalities, or provinces, or even regions. When two or more local government units cannot settle which among them holds the right to govern—or more often than not, to utilize the natural resource—of a particular area of jurisdiction, the problem lies with the indefinite boundaries separating them.

“To avoid disputes, the boundaries must be exact, accurate, and defined,” said Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 4A CALABARZON, Land Management Sector’s Engr. Danilo A. Arellano.

Arellano, chief of the Projection Section and Regional Cadastral Project Coordinator, added, “Administrative or political boundaries could be established through the cadastral survey.”

Cadastral survey determines the metes and bounds of an area—a province, city or municipality and their components, through political boundary or lot surveys. It also involves establishment of main and subsidiary controls to serve as reference where all surveys—such as political boundary survey and cadastral lot survey-- are referred to.

Political boundary survey establishes the boundaries between local government units, avoiding boundary disputes and providing a basis for appropriate Internal Revenue Allotments (IRA). Lot survey identifies the boundaries or measurements of individual lots, facilitating the distribution of land patents or land titles.

According to Arellano, cadastral surveying provides a comprehensive and accurate data on the land survey of the country. Cadastral maps or political boundary maps, complete with barangay and municipal boundary markers or monuments, aid local government units in zoning and land use planning and programming.

The Cadastral Survey Program started in 1913 through the enactment of the Commonwealth Act no. 2259, otherwise known as the Cadastral Act. In 1992, with the passage of Republic Act 7160, also known as the Local Government Code, the function on the conduct of cadastral survey was devolved from the DENR to the Local Government Units. However, for almost ten years, not a single municipality was completely surveyed by any LGU. In August 2001, the functions were returned to DENR. DENR issued Department Administrative Order 2001-23 in August 29, 2001 with the mandate to execute, supervise and manage the cadastral survey project.

As of 2011, the National Cadastral Survey Program has been one of the main projects of DENR. This is monitored by the Land Management Bureau and the Land Management Services of DENR’s regional offices.

LMB reveals that as of end 2013, a total of 753 cities and municipalities or 46% of the total universe of 1,634 cities and municipalities, containing an area of 13,836,698.79 hectares were cadastral surveyed or completed. The remaining total of 881 cities and municipalities are targeted to be surveyed by 2016.

“We (Land Management Service) have the National Cadastral Survey Program (as priority project),” said Arellano, “By December 2015, all municipalities in the country must already have approved cadastral surveys.”

Conduct of cadastral survey

The cadastral survey projects are classified into three: Category A consists of the establishment of control points and conduct of both political and lot surveys; Category B consists of control and political boundary survey; while Category C is lot survey only.

“Ideally, the implementation phase of cadastral projects under Category A is to be accomplished within 17 months as it consists of “full survey.” Category B projects, on the other hand, are given eight months while Category C projects have 15 months to finish,” stressed Engr. Shirley Nietes, DENR Region 4A Calabarzon assistant regional cadastral project coordinator,

Arellano revealed that project monitoring is done by LMS through designated resident project engineers. Actual surveys, he said, are contracted to deputized geodetic engineers after a public bidding.

“Resident engineers monitor and verify the work of deputized engineers and oversee the latter’s compliance to manual of land survey,” he confirmed.

Nietes reported that in CALABARZON, 13 Category B projects in 2011 are now approved. In 2012, there were 18 projects implemented—three of which under Category B are already approved, and six Category A and eight Category C projects currently in the final phase of implementation.

Prior to a survey, land titles already available in the municipality or city are collected as reference for the cadastral survey.

Resident project engineer Irene Nievares revealed that some municipalities already have land titles such as in some areas Naic, Cavite considered earlier as ‘friar lands.’

“In these instances, cadastral surveys are used for verifying the measurements already recorded,” Nievares said.

“In the actual survey, different equipment may be used,” said Cadastral Projects Monitoring Officer Nelayda Averion, “the Global Positioning System (GPS) has been increasingly common today.”

Averion said one Category C cadastral lot survey being done in Naic, Cavite contracted to deputized engineer Godofredo P. Artieda used the Real Time Kinematic (RTK) GPS.

Survey aide Noli Artieda explained the use of the RTK which entailed setting up a base instrument to be plotted in a particular area and two rovers move around, sending data to the base instrument. In this method, survey aides bring the rovers to different locations about 20 kilometers from the base to measure the boundaries between individual lots. This method, confirmed Averion, is more efficient.

Surveys products as tools for planning

The DENR regional offices’ Land Management Service has two divisions—Land Management and Surveys Division. The surveys division also conducts isolated land survey and public land survey. The former entails the measurement of a particular land, usually one residential area; while the latter facilitates the issuance of land patents.

“Surveying, in general, is part of planning,” said Arellano, “Land surveys facilitate the development of an area, for instance, its taxation and titling.”

Accomplishing the cadastral project by 2015

“We do not have problems with regard to the cadastral survey project,” stressed Arellano, “However, certain hitches slow down the conduct of surveys. For example, researching on the claimants of already existing land titles in the area take time, and resident engineers’ mobility maybe are also considered as a minor problem.”

Despite some odds, Regional Cadastral Project Coordinator, Engr. Danilo Arellano, is 100% sure that the DENR Region 4A CALABARZON will be able to finish all cadastral maps for CALABARZON Region by December 2015.

Soon enough, land boundary disputes in CALABARZON will be less, or no more, (Kamille Anne C. Anarna, RPAO, DENR R4A CALABARZON)