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Land use law may finally see light of day

[ ]  January 5, 2011
A National Land Use Act may possibly be passed under the Aquino administration, 16 years the proposed measure was first submitted in Congress, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.
"This time around, it will move because PNoy (President Benigno Aquino) in his first SONA (State of the Nation Address) said that one of his priorities is passing a National Land Use Act," Augusto Santos, NEDA deputy director general for regional development, said.
Santos said that the National Land Use Committee first submitted a land use bill in 1995 during the time of President Fidel Ramos.
"I told Dondon (Planning Secretary Cayetano Paderanga) and the new members of the National Land Use Committee, that NEDA has not been remiss in its duty. It submitted a draft that has not moved for 16 years. So this time around, the essence of the story is, we will try again," Santos said.
"Feeling ko after 16 years natabunan ng priorities that’s why hindi nagalaw. So we took the cue from that (SONA) and pushed it," Santos added.
Santos said the committee has asked Malacanang to place the bill on the agenda of Aquino’s first Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) meeting, expected this month.
"The LEDAC is composed of members of the legislative so that when LEDAC says okay, sige, i-submit natin itong Land Use Bill sa both houses of Congress, it will go through the usual way of passing a law," Santos said.
Santos noted the importance of having a National Land Use Act, which aims to place legal protection on the four main land uses.
"One is... we will have firmer legal basis as to where human settlements should be... Second, where should production places be, like agriculture, industry etc.... Third, where should the physical infrastructure be, roads, power supply, etc. Fourth, very important, where should the environmental protection placement be," he said.
Santos also said that when the committee last met, it made some revisions on the draft bill.
"It’s practically the same as the previous Land Use Bill that was submitted, except that the inter-agency committee will be strengthened. (It) will not be created by virtue of an executive order only, but will be a creation of law," Santos said.

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