Cimatu told public officials to stop issuing tax declaration for forestlands
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said that local government units (LGUs) are prohibited from issuing tax declarations for parcels of land belonging to public domain or those classified as forestlands.
He said this at the height of the government crackdown on erring establishments in Boracay, where residents have been issued tax declarations by LGUs despite the entire island being classified as a forestland.
“The law is clear that no public officer or employee can issue a Certificate of Real Property Tax without securing a certification from the Department that the real property to be declared for taxation is alienable and disposable,” Cimatu said in a recent memo addressed to DENR regional directors and assistant directors for technical services, and provincial and community environment and natural resources officers.
The prohibition, he said, is provided under Presidential Decree No. 705, as amended, pertaining to the issuance of certificates of real property tax declaration to persons occupying or possessing parcels of forestland.
Cimatu said it has come to his attention that there has been a number of irregularities when it comes to the issuance of tax declarations by LGUs to individuals who are in “open, continuous, exclusive, adverse and notorious possession” of parcels of forestland.
He then warned public officials and employees found violating the law, saying they could face a jail term of up to four years and permanent disqualification from holding elective and appointive positions in government.
The DENR is the agency responsible for the administration, survey, management and disposition of alienable and disposable lands and other public lands not placed under the jurisdiction of other government offices.