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The Regalian doctrine is enshrined in the present and previous Constitutions.

The 1987 Constitution, like the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, embodies the
principle of State ownership of lands and all other natural resources in Section 2 of
Article XII on “National Economy and Patrimony,” to wit:

“SEC. 2. All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal,


petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy,
fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and other natural
resources are owned by the State. With the exception of agricultural
lands, all other natural resources shall not be alienated. The
exploration, development and utilization of natural resources shall be
under the full control and supervision of the State. The State may
directly undertake such activities or it may enter into co-production,
joint venture, or production-sharing agreements with Filipino
citizens, or corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of
whose capital is owned by such citizens. Such agreements may be for
a period not exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for not more
than twenty-five years, and under such terms and conditions as may
be provided by law. In cases of water rights for irrigation, water
supply, fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development of
water power, beneficial use may be the measure and limit of the
grant.”

The principle had its roots in the 1935 Constitution which expressed the
overwhelming sentiment in the Convention in favor of the principle of State
ownership of natural resources and the adoption of the Regalian doctrine as
articulated in Section 1 of Article XIII on “Conservation and Utilization of Natural
Resources” as follows:

“SEC. 1. All agricultural, timber, and mineral lands of the public


domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils,
all-forces of potential energy, and other natural resources of the
Philippines belong to the State, and their disposition, exploitation,
development, or utilization shall be limited to citizens of the
Philippines, or to corporations or associations at least sixty per
centum of the capital of which is owned by such citizens, subject to
any existing right, grant, lease, or concession at the time of the
inauguration of the Government established under this Constitution.
Natural resources, with the exception of public agricultural land,
shall not be alienated, and no license, concession, or lease for the
exploitation, development, or utilization of any of the natural
resources shall be granted for a period exceeding twenty-five years,
except as to water rights for irrigation, water supply, fisheries, or
industrial uses other than the development of water power, in which
cases beneficial use may be the measure and the limit of the grant.”

Thus, after expressly declaring that all lands of the public domain, waters,
minerals, all forces of energy and other natural resources belonged to the State, the
Commonwealth absolutely prohibited the alienation of these natural resources.
Their disposition, exploitation, development and utilization were further restricted
only to Filipino citizens and entities that were 60 percent Filipino-owned.

The 1973 Constitution reiterated the Regalian doctrine in Section 8, Article XIV
on the “National Economy and the Patrimony of the Nation,” to wit:

“SEC. 8. All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal,


petroleum and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy,
fisheries, wildlife, and other natural resources of the Philippines
belong to the State. With the exception of agricultural, industrial or
commercial, residential, and resettlement lands of the public domain,
natural resources shall not be alienated, and no license, concession,
or lease for the exploration, development, exploitation, or utilization
of any of the natural resources shall be granted for a period
exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for not more than twenty-
five years, except as to water rights for irrigation, water supply,
fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development of water
power, in which cases beneficial use may be the measure and the
limit of the grant.”

The present Constitution provides that, except for agricultural lands of the public
domain which alone may be alienated, forest or timber, and mineral lands, as well
as all other natural resources must remain with the State, the exploration,
development and utilization of which shall be subject to its full control and
supervision albeit allowing it to enter into co-production, joint venture or
production sharing agreements, or into agreements with foreign-owned
corporations involving technical or financial assistance for large-scale exploration,
development and utilization.