AGRARIAN REFORM Secretary John R. Castriciones said in a statement Monday that DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform) Administrative Order No. 3, Series of 2021 now allows filers of applications for land conversion the option to file electronically.

Previously, all such applications and supporting documents had to be personally filed by the applicant.

Mr. Castriciones said alternative modes of application have been adopted in order to ensure continuous delivery of government services during the pandemic.

“The application for conversion must be duly verified by the landowner or the landowner’s authorized representative and should contain certifications attesting that all supporting documents were issued by the proper agencies,” Mr. Castriciones said.

“If the applicant chooses to file his application online, the applicant must furnish DAR with a soft or electronic copy of the application with the corresponding annexes through the Land Use Cases Division-Bureau of Agrarian Legal Assistance (LUCD-BALA) in case the land applied for conversion is more than five hectares, or to the concerned regional office if the land applied for conversion is five hectares and below,” he added.

According to Mr. Castriciones, the electronic copy of the application and its annexes will only be accepted in a portable document format (PDF), while the time and date of receipt of the electronic application as indicated in the timestamp of the e-mail will be considered as the date and time of filing of the application.

He added that the e-filing should be sent to the official e-mail address of the LUCD-BALA or the regional office concerned, for it to be considered as officially filed.

Mr. Castriciones said the landowner or authorized representative must file an application bond to guarantee against premature conversion of the agricultural land.

He said that if a conversion order is approved, the landowner must communicate within three days of receipt with the Register of Deeds regarding the land’s location for proper annotation on the certificate of title.

“In cases of non-acceptance of an incomplete application, the Land Use Conversion Division or the Regional Land Use Committee Secretariat will issue a written statement or certificate and an e-mail response or electronic notice (with time-stamp duly recorded), specifically stating the deficiencies or reasons for the non-acceptance and return of the application within five working days from the filing of the application for conversion which shall form part of the records of the application,” Mr. Castriciones said.

“Payment of filing fee, inspection cost, and the posting of bond (cash), related to electronic filing of application or appeal, in case of denial of the concerned regional director, will be collected through online banking and deposited to the Bureau of Treasury accounts to be provided by the DAR central office or concerned regional office which shall include an online assessment on the amount to be deposited and the specific account where the amount shall be deposited,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave