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C. Acquisition, ownership, and transfer of public and private lands


1) Limitations on ownership

a) Private corporations/associations

GENERAL RULE: Private corporations or associations may not hold alienable lands of the public domain. (Ibid.)

EXCEPTION: …. except by lease, for a period not exceeding twenty-five (25) years, renewable for not more than twenty-five (25) years, and not to exceed one thousand (1,000) hectares in area. (Ibid.)

b) Filipino citizens

Citizens of the Philippines may not acquire more than twelve (12) hectares thereof by purchase, homestead, or grant. (Ibid.)

Citizens of the Philippines may lease not more than five hundred (500) hectares. (Ibid.)

2) Congress to determine size of lands

Taking into account the requirements of conservation, ecology, and development, and subject to the requirements of agrarian reform, the Congress shall determine, by law, the size of lands of the public domain which may be acquired, developed, held, or leased and the conditions therefor. (Paragraph 2, Section 3, Article XII, Ibid.)

3) Transferee of private lands

GENERAL RULE: No private lands shall be transferred or conveyed except to individuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain. (Section 7, Article XII, Ibid.)

EXCEPTION: Save in cases of hereditary succession… (Section 7, Article XII, Ibid.)

a) Natural-born citizen who lost citizenship

A natural-born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his Philippine citizenship may be a transferee of private lands, subject to limitations provided by law. (Section 8, Article XII, Ibid.)


1) Use of property as a social function

The use of property bears a social function, and all economic agents shall contribute to the common good. (Section 6, Article XII, Ibid.)

2) Right to own, establish, operate economic enterprises

Individuals and private groups, including corporations, cooperatives, and similar collective organizations, shall have the right to own, establish, and operate economic enterprises, subject to the duty of the State to promote distributive justice and to intervene when the common good so demands. (Ibid.)

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