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Absence of land use, zoning laws seen stunting Philippine growth

Improper zoning, wrong appropriation of land
/ 10:07 PM October 12, 2011

Congress should pass national land use and zoning laws at the soonest possible time, as the absence of such legislation is preventing the country from achieving real modernization and pushing it behind its Asian neighbors.

In a speech at the Philippine Business Conference Wednesday, Vice President Jejomar Binay said many parts of the country, particularly the highly urbanized areas, were suffering from improper zoning and wrong appropriation of land.

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He related that “large tracts of government-owned land are being converted for commercial and residential purposes in areas where we should more wisely be developing parks and other facilities.”

“The result is an over-concentration of high-density, high-rise buildings, with no adequate provision for water, clean air, sewerage, green or open space, or road space for the cars of all the car owners residing in the high-rise buildings,” he said.

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In an interview after his speech, the Vice President said the country had to have a nationwide “master plan” for land use and zoning, which could be implemented on the local government level with the help of the private sector.

He said each local government had different requirements. In the housing sector alone, he said the government needed private sector help in putting up socialized housing units.

The Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, which he chairs, was tasked with providing 3.6 million homes over the next 10 years. This feat could be achieved with public-private sector collaboration, he said.

In a separate interview, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Francis Chua said private businesses were actually willing to work with government on ensuring proper land use and zoning.

“Our position is that local government units should consult all stakeholders before issuing zoning rules. There are different zoning rules in each locality, so we’re asking them to engage the stakeholders to prevent any demonstrations and complaints from anyone,” he said.

Binay said the government should take the lead in “replanning our cities, towns and countryside, instead of leaving everything to the real estate industry and private developers.”

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TAGS: land use, Philippines, zoning
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