Press Release
July 12, 2008


Senator Edgardo J. Angara today challenged geodetic engineers to help revisit existing land use plan and classification enforced in the country, which is necessary for our economic development.

Speaking in the recent oath-taking of the Geodetic Engineers of the Philippines - NCR, Angara observed that since the Local Government Code was passed, local government had difficulty in identifying its boundaries because some wanted to have bigger areas to acquire bigger revenues.

"And since the IRA was passed, since the Local Government Code was passed, nagkagulo na ang boundary ng munisipyo ng probinsya, nag-agawan na ng area, because of the fact that kung mas malaki ang area mo, mas malaki rin ang IRA mo. Kaya yung boundary ng Pilipinas, ngayo'y kinarambola na at yan po sana ang dapat nating pag-ukulan ng pansin," Angara said.

The senator also observed that special tenurial arrangements -- which were recently enforced -- tend to endanger remaining land assets.

"I am also concerned with the problems on land boundaries and surveying. Because when these special tenurial arrangements were introduced, no forest zone was left in our country. Apart from the ancestral domain lease, there are also leases for tourism as well as agro-forestry. You cannot distinguish anymore what is purely agricultural and what can be human settlement area. I'm concerned there especially because now our number one problem or at least 1 of 2 biggest problems that our country faces is food and fuel. If we cannot distinguish these boundaries and we destroy our protected areas even our forest domain, how can we be productive agriculturally?," Angara said.

In the end, Angara also urged experts in land boundaries to determine the proper classification of land as well as its purpose.

"I hope that we all meet together and finally do that for the sake of our children and the next generation; because I have seen in my public career public parks that used to be green and full of forest. I used to pass in the early 70s the Bicol National Park, but now you cannot see any tree in that park," Angara said.

He added, "So, we need to help each other, surveyors, environmentalists, public officials in general, to protect our natural resources and guard the proper use of our remaining land assets. And we want to show that with determination, with the right political leadership, and of course, with resources, you can protect your habitat, you can protect your food basket, you can protect your water resources, you can protect your marine resources I think that's the most important.

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