Neda seeks fine-tuning of proposed national land use law
State planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) is fine-tuning the draft executive order (EO) institutionalizing national land use planning while already moving to implement existing laws on utilization of land and other physical resources.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and Neda chief Ernesto Pernia told the Inquirer last Wednesday that the draft EO on National Land Use Act (Nalua) discussed during Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting was “well-received, subject to comments from a couple more agencies.”
Last December, the Cabinet asked Neda to craft an EO as the proposed Nalua pending in Congress was expected to meet opposition in the Senate.
In an email, Neda Undersecretary Adoracion Navarro said that while President Duterte and the Cabinet deferred their decision on the draft EO, the government could already start moving with the existing land use laws.
“Since we cannot formulate suggested directives for the President, which are not backed by existing laws, we focused on the crafting of Presidential directives telling agencies to fast-track their deliverables related to land use under various laws,” Navarro explained.
As recommended by the Cabinet during their December meeting, Navarro said they proposed to streamline the Neda Board-national land use committee to just five agencies—Neda as chair, and the Departments of Agriculture (DA), Agrarian Reform, Environment and Natural Resources, as well as Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) as members. The earlier proposal included 11 agencies.
On top of the streamlined national land use committee, Neda also pushed to reconstitute the land use committees in the regional and local government unit (LGU) levels, Navarro added.
“We also recommended that the DHSUD formulate sanctions for LGUs when they fail to formulate and implement their comprehensive land use plans,” Navarro said.
Navarro had noted that the President wanted “explicit and clear sanctions to local government executives when they violate Nalua.”
Another Neda recommendation was for the DA to “craft and implement a land consolidation and utilization program for agri-industrial development,” Navarro said.
Last month, Navarro said that while an EO will already facilitate the presidential directives to implement existing land use laws, a Nalua bill was needed to put in place additional sanctions, restrictions and programs that need funding but were not yet included in present pieces of legislation.
The President had identified Nalua as an urgent bill, mentioning it in his State of the Nation Addresses from 2016 to 2019, Pernia had pointed out. —BEN O. DE VERA