Department of Land Management partially reopens

DLM director Joe Borja said the department is open for document filing, but most DLM divisions still remain closed.

The Department of Land Management is the first non-essential GovGuam agency to re-open for business … at least partially.

Honk your car horn if you want attention … that’s the advice for title agents seeking to file land documents at the Department of Land Management which partially re-opened Tuesday.

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Honk and a land agent will come out and get your documents, said DLM director Joe Borja.

“That’s for the title companies that will come out doing those big pieces. What we’re trying to do is avoid foot traffic. For example, I think yesterday we recorded 125 documents. If those individuals had to come in, that would have been 125 people to come in.”

Document filing, yes, but most DLM divisions remain closed, said Borja

“We have limited services only. We have five divisions. There are other things we do when we process. For example, re-zoning applications, map review, and work like that. Those divisions are not open yet, only recording,” Borja said.

And why was the DLM recording division re-opened first? Because there is money at stake.

“We opened recording to the title companies because there are some heavy-duty deadlines and there are some very essential projects going on that require recording of their mortgages. The banks are still open and we’re part of that link in the financial thing,” Borja said.

Land management was among the non-essential GovGuam agencies that have been closed for weeks. Now that they’re the first formally closed department to be at least partially re-opened, employees seem pleased.

Liza Camacho, a land agent, said: “As long as we’re practicing social distancing and we have our masks on and we’re keeping our distance. I think I feel safe enough.”

Joel Cruz, DLM main recorder, said: “I am glad I’m coming back because I was going crazy at the house. I was actually already talking to my dog!”

Lisa Quitano, land abstractor, said: “Trying to get back to work is a big thing. I mean after all these weeks and months, I think it’s a good thing. We need this. But as long as we stay safe. Bless everyone out there. And I hope everything blows over in a good way!”