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Legarda Seeks Better Management of Country’s Natural Resources

July 6, 2013

Senator Loren Legarda today said that policies on improved management of the country’s natural resources, particularly land and water, are needed now to prevent degradation and ensure sustainable development.

Legarda said that “due to the presence of different stakeholders in the use of land and the lack of a national land use policy framework, the use of land in the country remains chaotic and breeds environmental degradation.”

Meanwhile, 50 of the 421 principal river basins in the country are already considered biologically dead due to pressures caused by urbanization, industrialization and poor sewerage, sanitation facilities, heavy siltation of rivers and other waterways, among other factors.

“We need to have a systematic framework on the use of our land resources and on the management of our river systems to optimize the use of these resources for sustainable development and to make our communities resilient to disasters,” Legarda said.

It is in this light that Legarda filed anew the National Land Use Act and the Philippine River Basin System Administration Act.

The proposed National Land Use Act under Senate Bill No. 7 will create a general long-term framework for proper allocation, use and management of the country’s land and other physical resources, while local government units (LGUs) will have to develop and implement their respective comprehensive land use plan (CLUP).

Land will be classified according to use—protection land use, production land use, settlements development and infrastructure development.

“To ensure compliance with the national land use policy, incentives and awards shall be given to LGUs that regularly update their CLUPs, while fines and sanctions shall be imposed for violating certain provisions of this proposed measure,” Legarda explained.

Meanwhile, the proposed River Basin System Administration Act under Senate Bill No. 9 seeks to adopt and institutionalize the Integrated River System Management Approach as a systematic framework in addressing river water management and development for flood control, water use and environmental conservation.

River basins will be classified in terms of importance to land conservation and the national economy.

“An integrated river system management approach will be adopted to ensure that in principle, one whole river basin system is governed by one river administrator who will be given strong authority on river and river water use to ensure orderly administration. Furthermore, local disaster risk reduction and management offices will be designated as flood fighting organizations that will help minimize the risks of flashfloods and other water-related disasters that are aggravated by extreme weather events,” said Legarda.