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money order payable to the order of the Director of Lands, for twenty-five per -centum of the amount of the bid, which amount shall be retained in case the bid is accepted, as part payment of the purchase price: Provided, That no bid shall be considered the amount of which is less than the appraised value of the land.
SEC. 27. Upon the opening of the bids the land shall be awarded to the highest bidder. If there are two or more bidders which are higher than other bidders and are equal, and one of such higher and equal bids is the bid of the applicant, his bid shall be accepted. If, however, the bid of the applicant is not one of such equal and higher bids, the Director of Lands shall at once submit the land for public bidding, and to the person making the highest bid on such public auction the land shall be awarded. In any case the applicant, if any, shall always have the option of raising his bid to equal that of the highest bidder, and in this case the land shall be awarded to him. No bid received at such public auction shall be finally accepted until the bidder shall have deposited twenty-five per centum of his bid, as required in section twenty-six of this Act. In case none of the tracts of land that are offered for sale or the purchase of which has been applied for, has an area in excess of twenty-four hectares, the Director of Lands may delegate to the provincial treasurer concerned the power of receiving bids, holding the auction, and pro-ceeding in accordance with the provisions of this Act, but the provincial treasurer, in his capacity as delegate of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, shall submit his recommendations to the Director of Lands, for the final decision of the latter in the case.
SEC. 28. The purchase price shall be paid as follows: The balance of the purchase price after deducting the amount paid at the time of submitting the bid, may be paid in full upon the making of the award, or in five annual installments from the date of the award.
SEC. 29. After at least the second installment has been paid and after the cultivation of the land has been begun, the purchaser, with the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, may convey or encumber his rights to any person, corporation or association legally qualified under this Act to purchase agricultural public lands, provided such conveyance or encumbrance does not affect any right or interest of the Government in the land. Any sale and encumbrance made without the previous approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources shall be null and void and shall produce the effect of annulling the acquisition and reverting the property and all rights thereto to the Government, and all payments on the purchase price theretofore made to the Government shall be forfeited. After the sale has been approved, the vendor shall not lose his right to acquire agricultural public lands under the provisions of this Act, provided he has the necessary qualifications.
SEC. 30. Before any patent is issued, the purchaser must show actual occupancy, cultivation, and improvement of the land applied for until the date on which final payment is made.
SEC. 31. If at any time after the date of the award and before the issuance of patent, it is proved to the satisfaction of the Director of Lands, after due notice to the purchaser, that the purchaser has voluntarily abandoned the land for more than one year at any one time, or has otherwise failed to comply with the requirements of the law, then the land shall revert to the Government and all prior payments of purchase money shall be forfeited.
SEC. 32. No person, corporation, association, or partnership shall be permitted, after the approval of this Act, to acquire the title to or possess as owner any lands of the public domain if such lands, added to other land belonging to such person, corporation, association, or partnership shall give a total area greater than the area the acquisition of which by purchase is authorized under this Act. Any excess in area over this maximum and all right, title, interest, claim, or action held by any person, corporation, association, or partnership resulting directly or indirectly in such excess shall revert to the Government.
This section shall, however, not be construed to prohibit any person, corporation, association, or partnership authorized by this Act to acquire lands of the public domain from making loans upon real estate security and from purchasing real estate whenever necessary for the recovery of such loans; but in this case, as soon as the excess above referred to occurs, such person, corporation, association, or partnership shall dispose of such lands within five years, for
the purpose of removing the excess mentioned. Upon the land in excess of the limit there shall be paid, so long as the same is not disposed of, for the first year a surtax of fifty per centum additional to the ordinary tax to which such property shall be subject, and for each succeeding year fifty per centum shall be added to the last preceding annual tax rate, until the property shall have been disposed of.
The person, corporation, association, or partnership owning the land in excess of the limit established by this Act shall determine the portion of the land to be segregated.
At the request of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Attorney-General or the officer acting in his stead shall institute the necessary proceedings in the proper court for the purpose of determining the excess portion to be segregated, as well as the disposal of such portion in the exclusive interest of the Government.
SEC. 33. This chapter shall be held to authorize only one purchase of the maximum amount of land hereunder by the same person, corporation, association, or partnership; and no person, corporation, association, or partnership, any member of which shall have received the benefits of this chapter or of any of the two last preceding chapters, either as an individual or as a member of any other corporation, association, or partnership, shall purchase any other lands of the public domain under this chapter.
But any purchaser of public land, after having made the last payment upon and cultivated the land purchased, if the same shall be less than the maximum allowed by this Act, may purchase additional agricultural public land adjacent to or not distant from the land first purchased, provided the total area of both tracts does not exceed the maximum established in this chapter, and that in making such additional purchase, the same conditions are complied with as prescribed by this Act for the first purchase.
SEC. 34. Any citizen of lawful age of the Philippine Islands or of the United States, and any corporation or association of which at least sixty-one per centum of the capital stock or of any interest in said capital stock belongs wholly to citizens of the Philippine Islands or of the United States, and which is organized and constituted under the laws of the Philippine Islands or of the United States or of any State thereof and authorized to transact business in the Philippine Islands, may lease any tract of agricultural public land available for lease under the provisions of this Act, not exceeding a total of one thousand and twentyfour hectares: Provided, That citizens of countries the laws of which grant to citizens of the Philippine Islands the same rights to lease public land as to their own citizens, may, while such laws are in force, but not thereafter, with the express authorization of the Legislature, lease any parcel of agricultural land, not in excess of one thousand and twenty-four hectares, available for lease in accordance with this Act: Provided, further, That no lease shall be permitted to interfere with any prior claim by settlement or occupation, until the consent of the occupant or settler is first had, or until such claim shall be legally extinguished, and no person, corporation, or association shall be permitted to lease lands hereunder which are not reasonably necessary to carry on his business in case of an individual, or the business for which it was lawfully created and which it may lawfully pursue in the Philippine Islands, if an association or corporation.
Corporations and associations not having all and each of the requirements established in the preceding paragraph of this section may, with the express authorization of the Legislature, lease agricultural public lands available for lease the total area of which shall not exceed one thousand and twenty-four hectares.
SEC. 35. All applicants for leases under the terms of this chapter must give notice, by publication in the Official Gazette and such other means as may be required by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, of intent to make application to lease the tract in question, which notice shall describe as definitely as practicable the land sought to be leased and shall state the date when the application will be presented.
SEC. 36. The annual rental of the land leased shall not be less than three per centum of the value of the land, according to the appraisal and reappraisal made in accordance with section one hundred and fourteen of this Act. Every contract of lease under the provisions of this chapter shall contain a clause to
the effect that a reappraisal of the land leased shall be made every ten years from the date of the approval of the contract, if the term of the same shall be in excess of ten years. In case the lessee is not agreeable to the reappraisal and prefers to give up his contract of lease, he shall notify the Director of Lands of his desire within the six months next preceding the date on which the reappraisal takes effect, and in case his request is approved, the Director of Lands may, if the lessee should so desire, proceed in accordance with section ninety-three of this Act.
The rent, which shall be paid yearly in advance, shall accrue from the date of the approval of the lease, and the first payment thereof shall be made in the Bureau of Lands on the date of the approval of the application.
SEC. 37. Leases shall run for a period of not more than twenty-five years, but may be renewed for another period of not to exceed twenty-five years. In case the lessee shall have made important improvements which, in the discretion of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, justify a renewal of the lease, a further renewal for an additional period not to exceed twenty-five years may be granted. It shall be an inherent and essential condition of the lease that the lessee shall not assign, encumber, or sublet his rights without the consent of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and that the violation of this condition shall avoid the contract: Provided, That nothing contained in this section shall be understood or construed to permit the assignment, encumbrance, or subletting of lands leased under this Act or under the former Public Land Act, to persons, corporations, or associations which, under this Act, are not authorized to lease public lands, unless otherwise provided by general or special legislation by the Legislature.
SEC. 38. The lease of any lands under this chapter shall not confer the right to remove or dispose of any valuable timber except as provided in the regulations of the Bureau of Forestry for cutting timber upon such lands. Nor shall such lease confer the right to remove or dispose of stone, oil, coal, salts, or other minerals, or medicinal mineral waters existing upon the same. The lease as to the part of the land which shall be mineral may be cancelled by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, after notice to the lessee, whenever the said part of the land is more valuable for mineral than for agricultural purposes.
The commission of waste or the violation of the forestry regulations by the lessee shall work a forfeiture of his last payment of rent and render him liable to immediate dispossession and suit for damage.
SEC. 39. The lessee of agricultural public land, after having made two or more payments of rent and improved the land leased, if the same is less than the maximum allowed by law, may lease additional agricultural public land adjacent to or near the land originally leased, provided the total area of both tracts does not exceed the maximum established in this chapter, and that in making such additional lease, the same conditions are complied with as prescribed by this Act for the first lease.
SEC. 40. During the life of the lease, any lessee who shall have complied Iwith all the conditions thereof and shall have the qualifications required by section twenty-three, may purchase the land leased subject to the provisions and restrictions of chapter five (Sale) of this Act.
CHAPTER VII.-Free patents.
SEC. 41. Any native of the Philippine Islands who since July fourth, nineteen hundred and seven, or prior thereto, has continuously occupied and cultivated, either by himself or through his predecessors in interest, a tract of agricultural public land subject to disposition, shall be entitled, under the provisions of this chapter, to have a free patent issued to him for a tract of such land not to exceed twenty-four hectares.
SEC. 42. The Governor-General, upon recommendation by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, shall from time to time fix by proclamation the period within which applications for free patents may be filed in the district, province, municipality, or region specified in such proclamation, and upon the expiration of the period so designated, unless the same be extended by the Governor-General, all the land comprised within such district, province, municipality, or region subject thereto under the provisions of this chapter may be disposed of as agricultural public land, without prejudice to the prior right of the occupant and cultivator to acquire such land under this Act by means other than free patent. The time to be fixed in the entire Archipelago for the filing of applications under this chapter shall not extend beyond Decem
ber thirty-first, nineteen hundred and twenty-eight. The period fixed for any district, province, or municipality shall begin to run thirty days after the publication of the proclamation in the Official Gazette. A certified copy of said proclamation shall be furnished to the Director of Lands and to the provincial board and the municipal board or council affected, and copies thereof shall be posted on the bulletin board of the Bureau of Lands at Manila and at conspicuous places in the provincial building and the municipal building. It shall, moreover, be announced by crier in each of the barrios, of the municipality. SEC. 43. If, after the filing of the application and the investigation, the Director of Lands shall be satisfied of the truth of the allegations contained in the application and that the applicant comes within the provisions of this chapter, he shall cause a patent to issue to the applicant or his legal successor for the tract so occupied and cultivated, provided its area does not exceed twenty-four hectares: Provided, That no application shall be finally acted upon until notice thereof has been published in the municipality and barrio in which the land is located and adverse claimants have had an opportunity to present their claims.
CHAPTER VIII.-Judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles.
SEC. 44. The persons specified in the next following section are hereby granted time, not to extend beyond December thirty-first, nineteen hundred and twenty-eight, within which to take advantage of the benefits of this chapter: Provided, That the several periods of time designated by the Governor-General in accordance with section forty-two of this Act shall apply also to the lands comprised in the provisions of this chapter; but this section shall not be construed in the sense of prohibiting any of said persons from acting under this chapter at any time prior to the period fixed by the Governor-General.
SEC. 45. The following-described citizens of the Philippine Islands and the United States, occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein, but whose titles have not been perfected or completed, may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor, under the Land Registration Act, to wit:
(a) Those who prior to the transfer of sovereignty from Spain to the United States have applied for the purchase, composition or other form of grant of lands of the public domain under the laws and royal decrees then in force and have instituted and prosecuted the proceedings in connection therewith, but have, with or without default upon their part, or for any other cause, not received title therefor, if such applicants or grantees and their heirs have occupied and cultivated said lands continuously since the filing of their applications.
(b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in the open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership, except as against the Government, since July twenty-sixth, eighteen hundred and ninety-four, except when prevented by war or force majeure. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter.
SEC. 46. No person claiming title to lands of the public domain not in pos- · session of the qualifications specified in the last preceding section may apply for the benefits of this chapter.
SEC. 47. Any person or persons, or their legal representatives or successors in right, claiming any lands or interest in lands under the provisions of this chapter, must in every case present an application to the proper Court of First Instance, praying that the validity of the alleged title or claim be inquired into and that a certificate of title issue to them under the provisions of the Land Registration Act.
The application shall conform as nearly as may be in its material allegations to the requirements of an application for registration under the Land Registration Act, and shall be accompanied by a plan of the land and all documents evidencing a right on the part of the applicant to the land claimed. The application shall also state the citizenship of the applicant and shall set forth fully the nature of the claim, and when based upon proceedings initiated under Spanish laws, it shall specify as exactly as possible the date and form of the application for purchase, composition or other form of grant, the extent of the
compliance with the conditions required by the Spanish laws and royal decrees for the acquisition of legal title, and if not fully complied with, the reason for such noncompliance, together with a statement of the length of time such land or any portion thereof has been actually occupied by the claimant or his predecessors in interest; the use made of the land, and the nature of the inclosure, if any.
The fees provided to be paid for the registration of lands under the Land Registration Act shall be collected from applicants under this chapter.
SEC. 48. Applications for registration under this chapter shall be heard in the Court of First Instance in the same manner and shall be subject to the same procedure as established in the Land Registration Act for other applications, except that a notice of all such applications, together with a plan of the lands. claimed, shall be immediately forwarded to the Director of Lands, who may appear as a party in such cases: Provided, That prior to the publication for hearing, all of the papers in said case shall be transmitted by the clerk to the Attorney-General or officer acting in his stead, in order that he may, if he deems it advisable for the interests of the Government, investigate all of the facts alleged in the application or otherwise brought to his attention. The Attorney-General shall return such papers to the clerk as soon as practicable within three months.
The final decree of the court shall in every case be the basis for the original certificate of title in favor of the person entitled to the property under the procedure prescribed in section forty-one of the Land Registration Act.
SEC. 49. In cadastral proceedings, instead of an application an answer or claim may be filed with the same effect as in the procedure provided in the last preceding two sections.
SEC. 50. It shall be lawful for the Director of Lands, whenever in the opinion of the Governor-General the public interests shall require it, to cause to be filed in the proper Court of First Instance, through the Attorney-General or the officer acting in his stead, a petition against the holder, claimant, possessor, or occupant of any land who shall not have voluntarily come in under the provisions of this chapter or of the Land Registration Act, stating in substance that the title of such holder, claimant, possessor, or occupant is open to discussion; or that the boundaries of any such land which has not been brought into court as aforesaid are open to question; or that it is advisable that the title to such lands be settled and adjudicated, and praying that the title to any such land or the boundaries thereof or the right to occupancy thereof be settled and adjudicated. The judicial proceedings under this section shall be in accordance with the laws on adjudication of title in cadastral proceedings.
SEC. 51. If in the hearing of any application arising under this chapter the court shall find that more than one person or claimant has an interest in the land. such conflicting interests shall be adjudicated by the court and decreeawarded in favor of the person or persons entitled to the land according to the laws, but if none of said persons is entitled to the land, or if the person who might be entitled to the same lacks the qualifications required by this act for acquiring agricultural land of the public domain, the decision shall be in favor of the Government.
SEC. 52. Whenever, in any proceedings under this chapter to secure registration of an incomplete or imperfect claim of title initiated prior to the transfer of sovereignty from Spain to the United States, it shall appear that had such claims been prosecuted to completion under the laws prevailing when instituted, and under the conditions of the grant then contemplated, the conveyance of such land to the applicant would not have been gratuitous, but would have involved payment therefor to the Government, then and in that event the court shall, after decreeing in whom title should vest, further determine the amount to be paid as a condition for the registration of the land. Such judgment shall be certified to the Director of Lands by the clerk of the court for collection of the amount due from the person entitled to conveyance.
Upon payment to the Director of Lands of the price specified in the judgment, he shall so certify to the proper Court of First Instance and said court shall forthwith order the registration of the land in favor of the competent person entitled thereto. If said person shall fail to pay the amount of money required by the decree within a reasonable time fixed in the same, the court shall order the proceeding to stand dismissed and the title to the land shall then be in the Government free from any claim of the applicant.
SEC. 53. Whenever any judgment of confirmation or other decree of the court under this chapter shall become final, the clerk of the court concerned shall