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Paolo Duterte seeks swift passage of national land use law after Paeng onslaught

By Billy Begas

Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte on Tuesday cited the urgency of instituting a national policy that would ensure the efficient and sustainable use of the country’s land and physical resources as a means to provide long-term safeguards to communities vulnerable to climate change.

Duterte said the destruction brought about by tropical cyclone Paeng in Maguindanao, which resulted in scores of deaths caused mostly by landslides, underscored the necessity to have proper planning and use of land resources.

“We often mention the National Land Use Act (NLUA) in the context of ensuring food security by, for one, preventing the conversion of agricultural lands to housing and commercial projects. But the rational and efficient planning and use of our land resources are also vital in ensuring that we get to identify high-risk and danger-prone locations in our communities,” Duterte said.

Duterte together with Benguet Rep. Eric Yap, ACT-CIS party-list Representatives Edvic Yap, and Jeffrey Soriano filed House Bill 3956 seeking a clear National Land Use Policy.

The bill outlines land use policies to determine areas allocated for agricultural production, housing and settlements, energy development, industries and other economically productive sites, and protected zones for environmental sustainability.

Duterte said the passage of the NLUA has been certified as urgent in the previous Congress by his father, former President Rodrigo Duterte in a bid to address the competing land requirements for food, housing business, and environmental conservation.

He said the proposal will also help local government units (LGUs) in mapping out their climate-resilient development plans.

The bill will also create the National Land Use Policy Council (NLUC) to be chaired by the Secretary of the National Economic and Development Authority and will serve as the highest policy-making body in all matters pertaining to land use and management.

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