Thursday, July 1, 2010
This month is the Couchsurfing (CS) Manila Boracay Escapade of which I am invited to attend. It is in celebration of CS Lyn birthday (July 13) and the opening of her new home from July 10-15,2010. I'm sure it will be fun so too bad I can't attend. My sadness,however,could not be compared to the sadness felt by several resort owners way back in October 2008, when the Supreme Court (SC) declared that some 400-hectare of Boracay Island as reserved forestland that cannot be subject to private ownership.
In its October 8,2008 decision, the SC declared that Boracay Island is owned by the state and ruled that private claimants are ineligible to apply for a judicial confirmation of title over their occupied portions in Boracay even with their continued possession and considerable investment in the land.
The SC en banc dismissed the claim of the affected residents, mostly owners of various resorts in the island, that Proclamation 1801 and its implementing circular issued by the late President Ferdinand Marcos did not place Boracay beyond the commerce of man since it was classified as a tourist zone, thus can be a subject of private ownership.
Private claimants, insisted that under Commonwealth Act (CA) 141 or the Public Land Act, they had the right to have the lots registered in their names through judicial confirmation of imperfect titles.However, the SC agreed with the government's position that the reliance of the claimants on Presidential Decree (PD) 1801 was misplaced as their right to judicial confirmation of title was governed by Commonwealth Act 141 and PD 705 issued by Marcos.
Based on CA 141 and PD 705, except lands covered by existing titles, Boracay was an unclassified land of the public domain prior to Proclamation 1064.Such unclassified lands are considered public forest under PD 705.