this land (use) is my land (use)...

(note: make sure you read my last post before reading this one)

Last June, the House Committees on Natural Resources, on Housing and Urban Development, and on Agrarian Reform, in a joint session, approved the text of House Bill 0272, also known as National Land Use Act of the Philippines. (Download full text of of the bill here (pdf 407Kb).

From the explanatory note:
The country has no Land Use Code that will serve as a sustainable growth map for both public and private investors. A Land Use Code is necessary for targeting and delineating areas open to investment in line with the country's development plans. There is need for certain lands to be set aside to establish "agricultural reserves" for food security. The Code is expected, eventually, to help resolve conflicts arising from various economic uses of lands versus the housing needs of the population.

A framework is needed for the allocation, utilization, management and development of the country's land resources. There is a need for a Land Use Code that will allocate land to various competing uses, preserve prime farm lands especially irrigated field for agricultural purposes, and ensure community participation in defining local land use.

The political crisis has probably sidelined the progress of the bill, nevertheless this bill is worth watching and is of crucial importance. As the above chart shows (click on image for larger version) Land Use and Development policies not only shape our cities and countryside but also impact a very wide range of issues - from economic (and political) segregation, to public health, to foreign policy (mainly energy independence).

I will discuss how land use impacts each of these issues over the next few posts.

Chart adapted from a presentation by Chris Leinberger, Urban Land Strategist

and Fellow of the Brookings Institution. (View Chris' original chart.)


Sidney said...

You need to have the plans and the laws and then you also need to enforce them.

Urbano dela Cruz said...


unlike other crimes and misdemeanors, violations of land use are easy to prosecute in that the violation is visible -and remains visible. (i.e. -how do you hide a residential subdivision in what is supposedly farmland? or a ten story building in an area zoned for 5?)

sure, the developer could bribe his way to exemptions but all one needs is a good land use plan/map to identify the violation. (in this case, solving the information assymetry in the market is easy enough -- publish the land use map!)

what we have to watch out for are legal loopholes, like the one that allowed landowners to avoid the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program -by turning their land into subdivisions or industrial estates. that's how cavite lost all its farmland.

the NLUA is supposed to correct this.

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