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Opening Statement on the Hearing on National Land Use Act

February 11, 2015

A pleasant day to all and thank you for coming to this public hearing of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

We are almost coming to a resolution of a 20-year old issue on the need for a national land use policy. We are in the penultimate stage of finalizing the consolidation of Senate Bills 7, 63 and 150, after having conducted at least 3 technical working group meetings and a number of consultations with various stakeholders.

This bill will help us understand the land use framework around four policy pillars, namely, Protection, Production, Settlements and Infrastructure. It attempts to clarify the complexities of regulating land use planning and to institutionalize mechanisms that will ensure its strict implementation from the national to the local levels.

This bill is also a timely policy that supports climate change adaptation and mitigation as it recognizes the ridge-to-reef framework. This promotes the principle that whatever is done in the uplands shall have consequences to lowlands, residential and coastal areas.

The bill also seeks to address the key issue of institutional coordination and the need for a centralized paradigm for classifying land according to use. This is also crucial in the light of recent disasters that have wreaked havoc on our communities.

The passage of this bill will define how we can sustainably use and manage our land and resources for generations to come. I pray we will arrive at the best consensus at the end of this hearing. Suffice to say, this is a legacy we owe to our children.