The House of Representatives has approved on second reading House Bill 5240 which seeks to institutionalize a national land use policy aimed at ending the destruction of the country’s land resources and promoting balanced development.
The bill mandates the standardization and classification of land use for the purposes of planning and implementation into protection land use, production land use, settlements development, and infrastructure development.
It also seeks to address the long-overdue task of determining and delineating the country’s permanent forest line.
Moreover, it establishes the National Land Use Policy Council (NLUPC) as the highest policy-making body on all matters pertaining to land use and management.
Other salient objectives of the bill: determine the scope and nature of responsibilities of national government agencies; mandate the completion and updating of existing cadastral surveys; and institutionalize land use and physical planning as a mechanism for identifying, determining, and evaluating appropriate land use and allocation patterns that promote and ensure, among others, the maintenance and preservation of environmental integrity and stability; sustainable and just management and utilization of natural resources; disaster risk reduction and climate risk-based planning; protection of prime agricultural lands for food security in basic food commodities; sustainable development and management of water resources towards water security; and improved access to affordable housing.
The bill provides that the existing National Land Use Committee (NLUC) under the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board shall be abolished, and in its place, the NLUPC shall be created.
The NLUPC shall be the highest policy-making body on land use and shall resolve land use policy conflicts between or among agencies, branches, or levels of the government. It shall also incorporate efforts and monitor developments pertaining to land use and the evolution of policies.
The NLUPC shall be headed by the NEDA Director General, who shall be responsible for all concerns within the sphere of land use and management on a national level, including the issuance of locational clearances for projects of national significance.
House Bill 5240 is authored by Reps. Jose Christopher Belmonte (6th District, Quezon City), Kaka Bag-ao (Lone District, Dinagat Islands), Deputy Speaker Romero Quimbo (2nd District, Marikina City), Reps. Sherwin Tugna (Party-list, CIBAC), Rozzano Rufino Biazon (Lone District, Muntinlupa City), Teddy Baguilat Jr. (Lone District, Ifugao), Maximo Rodriguez Jr. (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City), Tom Villarin (Party-list, AKBAYAN), Virgilio Lacson (Party-list, MANILA TEACHERS), Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado (1st District, Bulacan), Manuel Sagarbarria (2nd District, Negros Oriental), Enrico Pineda (Party-list, 1-PACMAN), Juan Pablo Bondoc (4th District, Pampanga), Aurelio Gonzales Jr. (3rdDistrict, Pampanga), and Henedina Abad (Lone District, Batanes).