May 07 2015

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The Law on former Filipinos owning land in the Philippines

Can a former Filipino own land in the Philippines?

This question is answered by many Overseas Consulate websites with wording similar to this:

Former natural-born Filipinos can own property in the Philippines, subject to limitations prescribed by Philippine Republic Act 8179 (residential property up to 1000 square meters of urban land or one hectare of rural land) and Batas Pambansa 185 (business property 5000 square meters of urban land or three hectares of rural land).

That example from: www.philippineconsulate.com.au

It is also answered by a Philippine Government website with the words:

Filipinos who re-acquire Filipino citizenship under this Act may once again enjoy full civil, economic and political rights under existing laws of the Philippines. Among these are:
– right to own real property in the Philippines

The above is from: Office of the President of the Philippines – Commission on Filipinos Overseas

Some Overseas Consulates refer to Batas Pambansa Bilang 185 as the law that gives this ownership.

Under Batas Pambansa Bilang 185, a natural born Filipino who has lost his/her Philippines citizenship may acquire private urban or rural land in RP for residential purposes — up to a maximum area of 1,000 sq.m. in the case of urban land or hectare in the case of rural land.

However, I have highlighted a very specific rule above, and this is emphasised under Sec. 7 of that act:

The transferee shall not use the lands acquired under this Act for any purpose other than for his residence.

Violations of this Section, any misrepresentation in the sworn statement required under Section 6 hereof, any acquisition through fraudulent means or failure to reside permanently in the land acquired within two years from the acquisition thereof, except when such failure is caused by force majeure, shall, in addition to any liability under the Revised Penal Code and deportation in appropriate cases, be penalized by forfeiture of such lands and their improvements to the National Government. For this purpose the Solicitor General or his representative shall institute escheat proceedings.

This can be seen at: Commission on Filipinos Overseas: http://invest.cfo.gov.ph/pdf/part2/land-acquisition-and-ownership.pdf
and at:
Chan Robles Virtual Law Library: http://www.chanrobles.com/bataspambansabilang185.htm

The laws define former Filipinos as citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship, who lost said Philippine citizenship, and who have the legal capacity to enter into a contract under Philippine laws.


It seems that FORMER Filipinos, who have lost their Citizenship, ARE able to buy land in the Philippines, on condition that it is for their residential use only.
Those that break that rule may have that land forfeited to the Philippine Government.

In my opinion, any former Filipino citizen moving back to the Philippines to live in residential property bought for that purpose may aswell apply for their Filipino citizenship back. It only costs PHP 3,010 (Last changed March 2014), and is an easy process.

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