House approves nat’l land use bill on 3rd reading

MANILA-- The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a measure which seeks to institutionalize a national land use policy that shall end the current degradation of the country's land resource and optimize balanced development.

With 215 affirmative votes, the lower chamber has unanimously approved House Bill 5240, or the proposed National Land Use and Management Act of the Philippines.

Under the bill, the standardized classification of land use shall be categorized into four areas, namely: (a) protection of land use; (b) production land use; (c) settlements development; and (d) infrastructure development.

The bill mandates the institutionalization of land use and physical planning that shall promote and ensure the following elements: (1) Maintenance and preservation of environmental integrity and stability; (2) Sustainable and just management and utilization of natural resources; (3) Disaster risk reduction and climate risk-based planning; (4) Protection of prime agricultural lands for food security; (5) Sustainable development and management of water resources; (6) Improved access to affordable housing; (7) Energy security or energy self-sufficiency.

The bill also seeks the creation of the National Land Use Policy Council (NLUPC) as the highest policy-making body for land use and management.

The NLUPC shall be headed by the Secretary of the National Economic Development Authority.

A National Spatial Database Information and Mapping System will also be created headed by the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA).

Source: Philippines News Agency