Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte has underscored 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 recent destruction wrought by severe tropical storm “Paeng” in Maguindanao, which resulted in scores of deaths caused mostly by landslides, demonstrate the direct impact of proper planning and use of land resources on saving people’s lives.
Along with Benguet Rep. Eric Yap and two other lawmakers, Duterte has filed House Bill (HB) 3956 which aims to establish clear parameters on the utilization of all land and physical resources in the country by institutionalizing a 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 bill and other similar measures filed in Congress seek to “end the current degradation of the country’s land resources, and optimize balanced development.”
He said one key aspect of passing the National Land Use Act (NLUA) that is often understated or overlooked is its importance in protecting communities from the destructive effects of climate change.
“We often mention the National Land Use Act 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 is also vital in ensuring that we get to identify high-risk and danger-prone locations in our communities,” Duterte said.
HB 3956, of which ACT-CIS Partylist Representatives Edvic Yap and Jeffrey Soriano are also principal authors, states that “priority shall be given to life and safety, and thus to identifying hazard prone areas and corresponding risk reduction measures as part of the DRR (disaster risk reduction) and CCA (climate change adaptation) objective.”