Farmers, IPs, and Fisherfolk plan for the passage of the Philippines' National Land Use Act

Tuesday, 4th September 2018

Seventy-five farmer, indigenous people, and fisherfolk partners, and CSOs, throughout the country, jointly planned campaign activities for the passage of the National Land Use Act (NLUA).

The NLUA Bill has been pending in the Congress for more than two decades now in spite of prioritization and certification as urgent by the Presidents since its filing in 1993 during the 9th Congress. The said proposed law will provide guidelines in delineating areas for protection, production, settlement development and infrastructure to ensure that our finite lands and resources are protected and utilized in a manner that is beneficial for all sectors of society and the future generations.

Currently, the NLUA Bill (House Bill 5240) passed the third reading in the House of Representatives (HOR) in May 2017, and was transmitted in the Senate with four versions filed and lodged in the Committee of Environment and Natural Resources. The Committee, chaired by Senator Cynthia Villar, has yet to convene a hearing to deliberate on the versions of the Bill. The Bill was also certified as urgent by President Duterte and, a priority Bill by the Legislative-Executive Advisory Council (LEDAC).

It is in this context that the Orientation cum Planning workshop on the National Land Use Act for the Basic Sectors was organized on 4 September 2018 in Quezon City, Philippines.

Ms. Kimberly Alvarez of the Kaisahan Tungo sa Kaunlaran ng Kanayunan at Repormang Pansakahan [Solidarity Towards Agrarian Reform and Rural Development] (KAISAHAN) explained the salient provisions of the NLUA and its four category land uses, namely: protection, production, settlements, and infrastructure development. Legislative updates and advocacy challenges were also presented during the session. A major bottleneck in the campaign for the passage of NLUA is the pending committee hearing to be convened by the Committee Chair.

With little awareness on the campaign in the local levels, the basic sectors recommended for further education, information campaign, and local consultations implemented in the community levels. Another recommendation drawn from the discussions also include the intensification of lobbying in the Upper House.

The workshop concluded with the planning of upcoming activities with the basic sectors.

*News and pictures by ANGOC