Press Release
July 24, 2019

Hontiveros pushes long-sought
National Land Use Act to better protect farmers and environment

"No more forests razed in the name of profit. No more farms turned into gated subdivisions. No more farmers without lands to till."

This is the call of Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros, who is pushing the landmark National Land Use Act to protect the environment, help farmers and the poor, and lessen the impact of disasters on communities.

Hontiveros recently filed her version of the "National Land Use and Management Act of the Philippines,"(Senate Bill No. 358) which seeks to harmonize and update the country's decades-old and conflicting land use laws and policies.

"As our population expands and our land resources dwindle, we need to institutionalize the proper use and management of our precious land resources. We need reforms that will allow us to address the present and future needs of the people - especially the poor and the landless," she said.

She said the bill introduces a more sound land use policy framework that will focus on ensuring a "healthy environment, sustainable agricultural production and food security, and decent, safe and affordable housing, jobs and industry, amid commercial pressures and development aggression."

According to Hontiveros, the bill will introduce a clear delineation of land use categories, protections for prime agricultural lands for food security and sufficiency, and a final determination of the country's permanent forest line. The bill also requires the completion of a geohazard mapping program that will provide up to date information for land use planning nationwide.

To make land use planning more inclusive, the bill endorses a National Land Use and Management Policy that will be based on the "assessment of the development needs of various sectors in a participatory "bottom-up, top-down approach.

She noted that the bill itself is the result of consultations with different basic and marginalized sectors such as farmers, fisherfolk, and the urban poor. "The bill is based on the felt needs and lived experiences of our fellow Filipinos whose lives are intertwined with the land on which they live and work," she said.

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