Legarda Bats for Speedy Passage of Law on Land Use

February 15, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, urged her colleagues to ensure the speedy passage of the National Land Use Bill, which seeks to provide a unified legal framework that will ensure a rational, holistic, and just allocation, use and management of the country’s land resources.

Legarda issued the statement during the public hearing of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources for the proposed National Land Use Act where she stressed the urgent need to pass said measure.

In her opening statement, Legarda emphasized that the bill is necessary in the country’s disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation efforts as it recognizes the ridge-to-reef framework which promotes the principle that whatever is done in the uplands shall have consequences to lowlands, residential and coastal areas.

“We have been experiencing stronger storms, earthquakes and other natural hazards. A national land use measure is crucial in ensuring that our people and economic assets are not placed in harm’s way because of the pressures of development,” she stressed.

The bill, at the same time, seeks to address the key issue of institutional coordination and the need for a centralized paradigm for classifying land according to use.

“LGUs play a critical role in the crafting of risk-sensitive and participatory land use planning and management. They are considered to be the first line of defense against disasters so there is an urgent need for them to be capacitated, enabling them to prepare, update and implement their respective land use policy based on policy guidelines to be set under the proposed NaLUA,” she added.

Legarda expressed optimism that the 20-year-old issue on the need for a national land use policy will soon be addressed following a number of consultations with various stakeholders and a series of technical working group meetings conducted by her committee.

“The passage of this bill will define how we can sustainably use and manage our land and resources for generations to come. A national land use policy is one significant step where this can start. Suffice to say, this is a legacy we owe to our children,” she concluded.