Press Release
February 11, 2011

lauds President Aquino's commitment to pass the long overdue bill

After several failed attempts to pass a law that will manage the use of the country's limited land and water resources, Senator Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri, chairman of the Senate committee on environment and natural resources, today expressed confidence that Senate Bill 2673 or the Land Use Act will address the seeming lack of masterplan in using our country's natural resources and at the same time lauds the Aquino government's commitment to support the measure.

"The proposed national land use measure addresses the vital issues of agrarian reform, climate change, the completion of a national database and geo-hazard mapping and disaster risk reduction and management. These issues had emerged and exerted great impact on the Philippines since Congress had first initiated the crafting of a national land use policy, more than two decades ago," Zubiri said in the explanatory note of Senate Bill 2673 or the Land Use Act.

Under the proposed bill, a Land Use Policy Council (LUPC) led by the Secretary-General of NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) shall act as a superbody to resolve all policy conflicts and territorial jurisdiction on land use between and among agencies, branches or levels of government. It shall also integrate efforts, monitor developments relating to land use and the evolution policies.

The Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources has already conducted series of consultative hearings related to the proposed measure. Zubiri hopes that the land use policy will address the overlapping functions and conflicting laws on agriculture, fisheries, defining forests areas and among others which were tackled during the committee hearings.

"This policy will also harmonize existing laws governing the allocation, utilization, development and management of land resources. Furthermore, conflicting land uses and interests of our growing population over limited land resources show the need to institutionalize a comprehensive national land use policy," Zubiri pointed out.

Aside from identifying and providing guidelines on geo-hazard areas or disaster prone areas, the proposed bill shall also institutionalize land use and physical planning as mechanisms for identifying, determining, and evaluating alternative land use and allocation patterns on national and local levels that promote and ensure the following:

a) sustainable and just management and utilization of natural resources

b) environmental integrity and stability

c) disaster risk-reduction and climate change resiliency

d) food security

e) protection of prime agricultural lands

f) water security

g) rational settlements development

h) physical and economic integration

i) agrarian reform, urban land reform and rural development

j) private-public partnership

k) people empowerment, decentralization, social justice and equity

l) respect and protection of the rights of indigenous cultural communities and indigenous peoples

m) protection of the rights of basic sectors

n) deeper understanding of our history and culture

o) energy security

p) market orientation with the framework of ecological and intergenerational factors

"President Aquino has mentioned the need to pass a land use policy during his SONA speech and the NEDA has reaffirmed this commitment during our previous Senate hearings. I urge my colleagues in Congress and all the stakeholders to come together and let us start working towards the passage of this measure," Zubiri said further adding that "this national land use plan is a plan that is adopted by almost all progressive countries."

News Latest News Feed