Gender and Land Rights Database


Direitos consagrados na Constituição

The Constitution, adopted in 1987: 

  • Article 2 (13):  The State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men
  • Article 3 (1): “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.”
  • Article 3 (9) states that private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.
  • Article 12 (5): the State protects the rights of indigenous cultural communities to their ancestral lands to ensure their economic, social, and cultural well-being.
  • Article 13 (1) stipulates that the State shall regulate the acquisition, ownership, use, and disposition of property according to principles of equity, and reducing social, economic, political and cultural inequalities.
  • Article 13 (4) states that the State shall undertake an agrarian reform programme founded on the right of farmers and landless people to own land directly or collectively. The State shall also encourage the just distribution of all agricultural lands taking into account equity considerations. The State shall provide incentives for voluntary land-sharing.
  • Article 13 (5): “The State shall recognize the right of farmers, farmworkers, and landowners, as well as cooperatives, and other independent farmers' organizations to participate in the planning, organization, and management of the program, and shall provide support to agriculture through appropriate technology and research, and adequate financial, production, marketing, and other support services.”
  • Article 13 (6): “The State shall apply the principles of agrarian reform or stewardship, whenever applicable in accordance with law, in the disposition or utilization of other natural resources, including lands of the public domain under lease or concession suitable to agriculture, subject to prior rights, homestead rights of small settlers, and the rights of indigenous communities to their ancestral lands. The State may resettle landless farmers and farmworkers in its own agricultural estates which shall be distributed to them in the manner provided by law.”
  • Article 13 (8): “The State shall provide incentives to landowners to invest the proceeds of the agrarian reform program to promote industrialization, employment creation, and privatization of public sector enterprises. Financial instruments used as payment for their lands shall be honored as equity in enterprises of their choice.”
  • Article 13 (14): “The State shall protect working women by providing safe and healthful working conditions, taking into account their maternal functions, and such facilities and opportunities that will enhance their welfare and enable them to realize their full potential in the service of the nation.”
  • Article 15 (1): “The State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development.”
  • Article 15 (2) recognizes marriage as an inviolable social institution and as the foundation of the family and provides for its protection (12).

Direito de propriedade e uso da mulher nos Códigos Civil, de Família e Código do Trabalho, Código de Família

The Family Code, 1987:

  • Article 5: The legal age for marriage is set at 18 years for both men and women (3).
  • Articles 70 and 71: the spouses are jointly responsible for the support of the family. The management of the household is the right and duty of both spouses.
  • Articles 75 states that the property regime within marriage is regulated by the marriage settlement. The spouses may choose between absolute community, conjugal partnership of gains, complete separation of property or any other regime. In the absence of marriage settlement, absolute community (with both spouses jointly administering family property) is applied. 
  • Article 96: under the regime of community property, the administration and enjoyment of property belongs to both spouses but in case of disagreement, the husband’s decision shall prevail, subject to recourse to the court by the wife for proper remedy, which must be availed of within five years from the date of the contract implementing such decision (11).
  • Article 111 states that the wife has exclusive management rights with regard to property belonging to her exclusively (11).
  • Article 147 stipulates that assets acquired during cohabitation without marriage are jointly owned, and can be encumbered or disposed of by one partner only with the consent of the other partner (11).
  • Articles 211 and 225 stipulate that the father’s decision should prevail in the exercise of legal guardianship. If the wife disagrees she will have to go to court to request a proper remedy (14).
  • Article 63 (2) states that in case of legal separation, the terms of the dissolution of community property are determined by guilt, not by gender (11).

The Code of Muslim Personal Laws, 1977:

  • Governs family relations within the Muslim community. Under this Code, wives need the consent of their husband to use land and to acquire property during marriage (11).
  • Article 27: allows polygamy if the husband can provide each wife with equal companionship and just treatment and only in exceptional cases
  • Article 35: the husband determines the residence of the family but the wife may challenge this choice in courts if the residence if not in keeping with her social standings or if it’s not safe.
  • Article 36: the wife manages the affairs of the household. She needs the consent of her husband to exercise any profession or lawful business. 
  • Article 28: in the absence of any stipulation to the contrary in the marriage settlements or any other contract, the property relations between the spouses are governed by the regime of complete separation of property in accordance with the Code of Muslim Personal Laws and, in a suppletory manner, by the general principles of Islamic law and the Civil Code of the Philippines.
  • Article 45 and 46: divorce may be effected by repudiation
  • Article 51: If at the time of the celebration of the marriage (or later on) the husband has delegated to the wife the right to effect a talaq (repudiation), she may repudiate the marriage and the repudiation would have the same effect as if it were pronounced by the husband himself.
  • Article 53: divorce by faskh may be granted to the wife on the ground of “unusual cruelty” 
  • Article 29: a divorced woman must observe an “idda” of three monthly courses or, if pregnant, wait until delivery before she can remarry 

The Labour Code, 1974:

  • Article 3 provides that the state shall ensure equal work opportunities for all people regardless of sex. However, sex discrimination with regard to recruitment is not explicitly prohibited.
  • Article 8: tenant-farmers on private agricultural lands primarily devoted to rice and corn under a system of share crop or lease tenancy whether classified as landed estate or not shall be deemed owner of a portion constituting a family-size farm of five (5) hectares, if not irrigated and three (3) hectares, if irrigated.
  • Article 10: Conditions of ownership. No title to the land acquired by the tenant-farmer under Presidential Decree No. 27 shall be actually issued to him unless and until he has become a full-fledged member of a duly recognized farmers’ cooperative.
  • Article 130: women, regardless of their age, cannot be employed by night in any agricultural undertaking unless they are given a period of rest of at least nine consecutive hours. This prohibition is tempered by a number of exceptions (e.g. where the women employees are immediate members of the family operating the establishment or undertaking or where the woman employee holds a responsible position of managerial or technical nature)
  • Under Article 135 sex discrimination with respect to terms and conditions of employment is prohibited and considered a criminal offence (11).
  • Article 136: an employer cannot require as  a condition of employment or continuation of employment that a woman employee shall not get married, or to stipulate expressly or tacitly that upon getting married, a woman employee shall be deemed resigned or separated, or to actually dismiss, discharge, discriminate or otherwise prejudice a woman employee merely by reason of her marriage.

Mecanismos legais de herança/sucessão

The Civil Code, 1987: 

  • It is strongly influenced by the Spanish Civil Code
  • Article 900: defines what share of the estate should go to the surviving spouse. 
  • Articles 995 and 996: in the absence of a will, when there are no descendants, the surviving spouse inherits the entire estate. If there are descendants, the estate is divided equally among them and the surviving spouse.
  • According to Articles 802 and 803, a married woman can make wills without the consent of her husband; she can also dispose of her separate property and of a share of communal property (11).
  • Article 1090. When the title comprises two or more pieces of land which have been assigned to two or more co-heirs, or when it covers one piece of land which has been divided between two or more co-heirs, the title shall be delivered to the one having the largest interest, and authentic copies of the title shall be furnished to the other co-heirs at the expense of the estate. If the interest of each co-heir should be the same, the oldest shall have the title

The Code of Muslim Personal Laws, 1977: 

  • Muslim women inherit half of the share inherited by men in the same succession position (11).
  • Article 96: after the expiry of the “idda” a repudiated woman no longer has the right to inherit from her husband
  • Article 111: The husband surviving together with a legitimate child or a child of the decedent's son is entitled to one-fourth of the hereditary estate. If there are no such descendants, he inherits one-half of the estate.
  • Article 112: The wife surviving together with a legitimate child or a child of the decedent's son is entitled to one-eighth of the hereditary estate. In the absence of such descendants, she inherits one-fourth of the estate

Legislação de Direito das terras

The Agricultural Tenancy Act (Republic Act No. 1199) of 1954 “An Act to Govern the Relations Between Landholders and Tenants of Agricultural Lands (Leasehold and Share Tenancy)” and amended in 1959: 

  • This was the first land reform law which regulated all forms and aspects of tenure relations, except civil lease
  • It gave share tenants the right to shift to leasehold and pay landowners a fixed rental instead of a variable share
  • It provided security of tenure to tenants by prohibiting their expulsion unless the Court of Agrarian Relations found just cause
  • It created the Court of Agrarian Relations (CAR)

The Constitution, 1987:

  • Article II, Section 21: "The State shall promote comprehensive rural development and agrarian reform"
  • It provided a basis for the formulation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP)

The Proclamation No. 131 instituting a Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), 1987

  • Pursuant to the Constitution, it undertakes an agrarian reform program founded on the right of farmers and regular farm workers, who are landless, to own directly or collectively the lands they till or, in the case of other farm workers, to receive a just share of the fruits
  • It covers all public and private agricultural lands regardless of the tenurial arrangement and the commodity produced, including other lands of the public domain that are suitable for agriculture
  • It created the Agrarian Reform Fund (ARF) to cover the costs of the program until 1992

The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (Republic Act No. 6657) 1988, last amended by the Republic Act No. 9700 in 2009:

  • This Act was meant to provide a legal basis for the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). It must be read together with all subsequent amendments.
  • A Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) is established to guide and orient in the implementation of the Agrarian Program. Together with the Department of Agricultural Reform (DAR), its aim is to plan and program the final acquisition and distribution of all remaining unacquired and undistributed agricultural lands until June 30, 2014.
  • The scope of the Act was extended in 2009 to cover: 

>   All alienable and disposable lands of the public domain devoted to or suitable for agriculture;

>   All lands of the public domain in excess of the specific limits as determined by Congress in Section 4 (a) of R.A. No. 6657;

>   All other lands owned by the government devoted to or suitable for agriculture; 

>   All private lands devoted or suitable for agriculture regardless of the agricultural products raised or that can be raised thereon

  • The 2009 amendment introduced a definition of rural women. It refers to “women who are engaged directly or indirectly in farming and/or fishing as their source of livelihood, whether paid or unpaid, regular or seasonal, or in food preparation, managing the household, caring for the children, and other similar activities.”
  • Section 2 states that the Agrarian Reform Program seeks to achieve the welfare of the landless farmers and farm workers, and to establish the owner-cultivatorship of economic-size farms through the redistribution of agricultural lands, subject to the payment of just compensation of dispossessed landowners.
  • Section 4: “The comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 shall cover, regardless of tenurial arrangement and commodity produced, all public and private agricultural lands, as provided in Proclamation No. 131 and Executive Order No. 229, including other lands of the public domain suitable for agriculture.”
  • Section 6 states that no person may own or retain, directly or indirectly, any public or private agricultural land in excess of 5 hectares. Three hectares may be awarded to each child of the landowner. Any disposition of private lands made by landowners in violation of the above limits is automatically null and void.
  • Sections 5-8 specify that the implementation is to be carried out in three phases, in accordance with a given order of priorities established according to kind, size, and nature of the tenurial status of the lands.
  • Section 22 states that beneficiaries must be willing to and capable of cultivating the land and may be subject to penalty in case they forfeit the land.
  • Section 25 (2) provides that farmers who own less than three hectares of agricultural land are eligible for distribution of land according to a given priority order of categories of farmers.
  • Section 27:  Lands acquired by beneficiaries under this Act or other agrarian reform laws shall not be sold, transferred or conveyed except through hereditary succession. 
  • The 2009 amendment introduced a major change to enable women’s economic advancement. Section 37-A provides for equal support services for rural women and lists a number of measures to promote women’s economic empowerment: 

>  The PARC must ensure that support services integrate the specific needs and well-being of women farmer beneficiaries taking into account the specific requirements of female family members of farmer beneficiaries. 

>  It must also ensure that rural women are able to participate in all community activities. 

>  Rural women are entitled to self-organization in order to obtain equal access to economic opportunities and to have access to agricultural credit and loans, marketing facilities and technology, and other support services, and equal treatment in land reform and resettlement schemes.

>  The DAR is required to establish and maintain a women’s desk, which will be primarily responsible for formulating and  implementing programs and activities related to the protection and promotion of women’s rights, as well as providing an avenue where women can register their complaints and grievances principally related to their rural activities.

  • Section 41: the composition of the PARC should have one member from an indigenous people, one member from a national organization of rural women and 20 percent of the members must be women 
  • Section 44 provides for the establishment of Provincial Agrarian Reform Committees in each province, to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the program (13).
  • Section 40 (5):  Rural women are listed as a special area of concern. As such, “all qualified women members of the agricultural labour force must be guaranteed and assured equal rights to ownership of land, equal share of farm’s produce and representation in advisory or appropriate decision making bodies.” (3)

The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, 1997

  • Section 2 (b) recognizes indigenous people’s ancestral rights over land by providing for the application of customary land tenure in the ancestral domain (11).
  • Sections 2 (d), 21 and 26 guarantee gender equality and the human rights of indigenous women and participation of indigenous women in decision-making processes at all levels (11).
  • Section 26: women enjoy equal rights and opportunities with men, as regards the social, economic, political and cultural spheres of life. The participation of indigenous women in the decision-making process in all levels, as well as in the development of society, shall be given due respect and recognition. The State shall provide full access to education, maternal and childcare, health and nutrition and housing services to indigenous women. Vocational, technical, professional and other forms of training shall be provided to enable these women to fully participate in all aspects of social life. As far as possible, the State shall ensure that indigenous women have access to all services in their own languages.
  • Section 28: the Act created a National Commission on Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to carry out the policies set forth in the Act. The Commission is responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies, plans and programs to promote and protect the rights and well-being of the ICCs/IPs and the recognition of their ancestral domains as well as their rights thereto.

The Administrative Order 96-29, 1996, of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources declares that State contracts concluded with persons occupying forest lands must be signed by both spouses (11).

Medidas políticas e mecanismos legais que reforçam ou limitam ou impedem o direito da mulher a terra

- The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women, created in 1975, is mandated to review, evaluate and recommend measures to ensure the full integration of women in various areas of development. The Commission guides national government agencies and local government units in their gender mainstreaming efforts (3).

- The 1989-1992 Philippine Development Plan for Women recognized the shared responsibility of government agencies to implement programmes for women’s advancement. Agencies created the Gender and Development (GAD) focal points to coordinate the plan implementation and lead the capacity building of the agency for gender mainstreaming. As of 2002, some 100 agencies had operational GAD focal points (3).

The National GAD Steering Committee provides directions and monitors the gender-based agrarian reform programmes through the GAD Technical Working Group Focal Point (3).

- The Women in Development and Nation Building Act, 1992

  • Aims at promoting the integration of women as full and equal partners with men in development and nation building. 
  • Under Section 5, women have full legal capacity to act and to enter into contracts, regardless of their marital status.
  • Section 5(1) recognizes women’s legal capacity to borrow and obtain loans.
  • Section 5(2) recognizes women’s right to “equal access to all government and private sector programmes granting agricultural credit, loans and non-materials resources.”
  • Section 6 grants women equal access to membership in social, civic and other organizations (11).

- The Administrative Order No. 1 of 2001 protects the rights of both spouses to ownership of the land, by requiring the issuance of Emancipation Patents or Certificates of Land Ownership Award (EP/CLOA) in the name of both spouses. The Order also provides for the integration of a gender responsive reporting system in the reporting for land acquisition and distribution and in the computerized information system of the Department of Agriculture (3).

- In 2004, the Department of Agriculture issued Special Order No. 21, directing all agency units to reorganize their respective focal points to facilitate the mainstreaming of gender concerns. A Technical Working Group was created within the Department to formulate a strategic plan for mainstreaming gender through data generation of selected agricultural information. Agricultural mainstreaming is further implemented through gender-sensitivity training among the Department’s officials, middle management and employees (14).

- The Department of Natural Resources Administration Order No. 13 of 2002 repealed paragraph 8 of the Lands Administrative Order No. 7-1 of 1936, thus granting women, regardless of civil status, equal rights as men to apply for the purchases or lease of public lands. The previous regulation required the written consent of the husband before applying for land purchase or lease (3).

- The 1995-2025 Philippine Plan for Gender-responsive Development is a 30 year framework for pursuing full equality and empowerment of women (3). The plan foresees that all government entities at all levels implement the Plan incorporating GAD concerns in their performance, commitment and financial plans (7). The chapters on agrarian reform, agriculture, indigenous people and environment and natural resources explicitly recognize the role of rural women in the development process (14).

- In 2003, the participants of the 2003 National Rural Women’s Congress compiled “The Rural Women Agenda: A Ten Year Vision” which contains an eight point agenda and corresponding proposed resolutions, including ensuring rural women’s property rights under agrarian reform, and increasing rural women’s access to adequate food, safe and potable water and basic services (3).

- The Department of Environment and National Resources (DENR) has adopted a gender-mainstreaming handbook to ensure gender parity in the implementation of its Community-Based Forest Management Program. The department has also been issuing certificates of stewardship contracts and opening access to training programmes to both spouses (3).

- The House Bill 35333, An Act Instituting the National Land Use Policy of the Republic of the Philippines, Providing the Implementing Mechanisms Therefore and For Other Purposes

As defined in the bill, land use refers to the manner of allocation, utilization, management and development of land.

The Bill seeks to standardize the classification of land use in the following areas: Protection Land Use; Production Land Use; Settlements Development; and Infrastructure Development

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography