Moratorium on agri land conversion opposed
Business leaders and economists opposed the proposed moratorium on farmland conversion, saying it would not only hamper the entry of much needed investments into the Philippines, but could set back the country’s development goals.
The proposal of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to suspend the conversion of agricultural lands to nonagricultural and to review all land conversions, stock distribution and leasehold arrangements might adversely impact on the government’s thrust to develop more economic zones, expand the manufacturing industry, accelerate infrastructure projects and decongest urban areas.
This was according to local and foreign business groups, who asked the government to carefully review the proposal and called for a broader policy framework on land use.
These groups are the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Foundation for Economic Freedom, Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, Philippine Exporters Confederation, American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, European Chamber of Commerce and Japanese Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.
These groups welcomed provisions that lands could be converted if they were within priority areas identified by the government.
They said the government should take into account that there were agricultural lands that were unproductive.
“Preventing the conversion of lands to more productive uses goes against the principle of allowing the highest and best use of land,” the business groups said.
“The review and possible rescission of approved conversions and stock distribution will breed uncertainty,” they added.
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