Commission on Audit

Boy Scouts of the Philippines risks losing land unlisted in its books

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Boy Scouts of the Philippines risks losing land unlisted in its books
The Commission on Audit warns the Boy Scouts of the Philippines could lose the land and properties through sequestration by the national government or through land-grabbing done by others

The Commission on Audit (COA) warned on Tuesday, September 27, that 13 parcels of land – a combined area of 253 hectares with an estimated value of P71.8 million – are unlisted in the books of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSoP), even if these parcels of land were covered by titles or presidential proclamations.

COA said 39 other properties – some 524.7 hectares – acquired through purchase, exchange, or donation are also untitled, and 13 of these properties may revert back to their old owners as a result of non-compliance to needed conditions.

COA also warned the BSoP could lose the land and properties through sequestration by the national government or through land-grabbing done by private groups or individuals.

The information is based off a 2021 audit report list, with assigned prices based off declared zonal values, and is made up of the the following:

  • six titled lots (combined value P4.02 million) with an area of 31.3 hectares in Mati, Davao Oriental; Zamboanga City; Butuan City; Birador Hills, Bohol; and Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur.
  • a 1,000 square meter lot on Tramo Road, Pasay City (estimated assessment at P28 million)
  • 72 hectares in Goa, Camarines Sur (estimated at P18 million)
  • 50 hectares in Iligan City (estimated at P8.5 million)
  • a 962 square-meter lot/property in Marbel, South Cotabato (estimated at P8.18 million)
  • 98 hectares in Salcedo, Eastern Samar (estimated at P4.9 million)
  • one hectare in Iligan City (estimated at P150,000)
  • 6,918 sqm in Jolo, Sulu (estimated at P48,426)

The Commission on Audit said, “Considering that these properties are covered by and/or supported with special legislations, therefore, the BSoP has valid ownership and should have recorded the same in its books. In fact, some of these properties are currently occupied and used by the BSoP Local Councils.”

The 13 properties, however, were not yet recorded in BSoP’s books as the acquisition costs have not yet been determined. Further, supporting documents required for the issuance of titles were not held by the BSoP.

Auditors however said that, based on the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), what’s needed for the initial recognition of donated assets is the establishment of fair market value through an appraisal or the referencing of available records. COA added, “The non-registration of these properties would not protect BSoP’s interest and will cause others to have adverse claims thereon.”

The auditors also corrected a claim by BSoP management when they said they could not recognize some of the parcels of land due to their being donations to local councils, which BSoP deemed separate and distinct from itself. Said the auditors, “all real estate acquired by purchase, donation, bequest by a Local Council shall be registered in the name of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines.”

Auditors added that nothing in the laws “permits the BSoP to create any other corporate body whose personality is entirely independent, autonomous, distinct and separate from the BSoP itself.”

COA added a recommendation that the BSoP notarize its properties with titles – some 39 in all – to strengthen the claim they have on those properties. COA said that while a lack of notarization of those deeds wouldn’t invalidate the transactions of the BSoP, “the law requires that the form of a contract that transmitted or extinguished real rights over immovable property shall be in a public document.”

Of 39 properties with titles, 33 were covered by deeds of donations, while five were through deeds of absolute sale and one through a deed of exchange. Seventeen were donated by local government units, Sixteen, meanwhile were acquired from private individuals. –

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