Paulina Quintao – Rede ba Rai is urging the government to temporarily stop the land registration process being conducted throughout the territory and to establish an independent team to evaluate the quality of the work undertaken so far before the work is complete.
The National Coordinator for Rede ba Rai, Hortencio Pedro Vieira said it is necessary to evaluate the implementation of Cadastral National System (SNC) program, because he alleges most of its work goes against legal frameworks and because it lacks socialization in the community.
He said land disputes have increased in the community so to prevent this issue, in-depth information needs to be given to the community so they understand clearly the national cadastral process and the legal basis of land rights.
"The result of research we conducted, show the SNC doing things against the existing rules, so we recommend stopping the SNC program and continue to evaluate their program's implementation," he said recently in Comoro, Dili.
He said their research was conducted in eight (8) municipalities, including in the Special Administrative Region of Oecusse-Ambeno (RAEOA) and they also conducted a case study in the Municipality of Covalima.
Meanwhile, researcher Mariano Ferreira said SNC started its implementation in 2013 based on the decree law number 27/2011 and on the ministerial diploma number 16/2011, including number 23/2011 that it has been using as its legal basis, but in 2016 the two diplomas were altered to establish two new ministerial diplomas number 45/2016 and 46/2016 that needed to guide its work.
He said the research shows the implementation of SNC is in breach of many legal provisions because in 2017, the National Parliament approved law number 13/2017 on the special regime of defining Ownership of Immovable Property that has become law number 27/2011 on the land registration process, that guarantees equal rights for men and women, protects vulnerable groups, and assures adequate information for communities, provisions that according to the researcher has not been well-implemented by the SNC program.
"They have to adopt law number 13/2017, because many articles are written in this law, including offering special protection to vulnerable groups, to guarantee equal rights for men and women to land ownership and that everyone is free to submit their declaration about their land. And if the state says that it belongs to the state they also need to provide a declaration. According to the law also, the Commission for Land will resolve land disputes," he said.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of State for Land and Property (SETP), Mario Ximenes said the government has no reason to halt the SNC program, because it fulfills the terms of references and is based on the law, and that the program is almost finalized.
He said based on the monthly reports from SNC, the program is being well implemented and it is based on the legal frameworks of the law number 27/2011.
"This program is based on the terms of reference signed by the government in 2014. Everything is going well, so we have no reason to stop it, and this program will end on 31stof March 2020," he said.
He said that based on the contract signed it must register 310.000 portions of land, but so far SNC has registered more than this number.
He said, the government will organize a large seminar to present the report of the results of the SNC program to the public, when the program is completed.
The Land Registration Project is called Cadastral National System (SNC), and is being implemented by two companies, GMNH Company as the national company and the ARM-APPRIZE company, an international company from Portugal, with a total budget of $57 million.