Our ricelands are shrinking: Campaign for Land Use Policy Now! (CLUP Now!) reiterates calls for the passage of the National Land Use Bill

The National Land Use Bill has been certified by the President in his last State of the Nation Address. The declining number of land devoted to food production is detrimental to our food security as a nation, and will be hitting the most vulnerable segments of our population.


Aug 21, 2018
Our ricelands are shrinking: Campaign for Land Use Policy Now! (CLUP Now!) reiterates calls for the passage of the National Land Use Bill

The Campaign for Land Use Policy NOW is alarmed by reports of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) that rice lands shrank by 48 percent since 1980s. "From 3,649,882 hectares in 1980, the PSA said that rice lands throughout the country have shrunk to 1,904,301 hectares hectares in 2012. This translates to a loss of up to 1.7 million hectares of rice land... [and a loss of] 70 million or more sacks of rice every harvest season."


The article also reports that "Melencio Domingo, a farmer, appealed to the government to stop land conversion by preventing farmlands from being sold to developers.


'Sana po, huwag na pong bigyan ng Department of Agrarian Reform, Philippines (DAR) ng permit 'yung mga nagko-convert ng lupa...Para 'yung inaani natin, makasapat sa ating mga Pilipino,' said Domingo."

The CLUP Now! also wishes to clarify that land use conversion in accordance with the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) is defined as “the act or process of changing the current physical use of a piece of agricultural land into some other use or for another agricultural use other than the cultivation of the soil, planting of crops, growing of trees, including harvesting of produce therefrom, as approved by DAR.”


On the other hand, per the Local Government Code: “A city or municipality may...authorize the reclassification of agricultural lands...Provided, further, that agricultural lands distributed to agrarian reform beneficiaries pursuant to Republic Act Numbered Sixty-six hundred fifty-seven (R.A. No. 6657). otherwise known as the CARL, shall not be affected by the said reclassification and the conversion of such lands into other purposes.” This power to reclassify of LGUs is often misconstrued as power to convert agricultural lands. The DAR’s approval is necessary before the reclassification of agricultural land by an LGU is considered final.


This gap in understanding has led to the reconcentration of land among big businesses and the landed elite as farmers regress into landlessness. When farmers lose their lands, the country loses its means to feed its people.


We take this opportunity to call for the passage of the National Land Use Act (NLUA) as it aims to provide a national framework for land use and management. It puts forth four (4) categories for land use management: protection, production, settlement and infrastructure. The current version of the NLUA Bill aims to strengthen existing mechanisms to regulate and restrict land use conversion of agricultural lands given concerns of food security and self-sufficiency in the midst of climate change, exponential population growth, and a fast urbanizing society.


The NLUA was first filed 25 years ago on July 1993 and has been at a legislative impasse since its transmittal from the House of Representatives to the Senate on July 2016.


No less than the Chief Executive of our country, President Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte called for its passage twice in his State of the Nation Address in July 2017 and 2018. The NLUA has consistently been in the Common Legislative Agenda of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) and declared as a priority legislation under the Philippine Development Plan of 2017-2022. Despite strong calls pushing for the passage of the NLUA, Senator Cynthia A. Villar, Chair of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources where the bill is lodged, has yet to convene a committee hearing. Senator Villar, a known tycoon in the real estate business, also heads the Senate Committee of Agriculture and Food, and the Committee on Agrarian Reform.

We challenge Senator Villar to demonstrate that her personal and business interests do not define her political will, and that as a public servant, she prioritizes the common good over her family’s private interests. We enjoin her to respond to the urgent request of the President, and to waste no time in convening a hearing of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources to discuss, enhance and finalize the NLUA bill.


We also call on the rest of the senators to impel their colleague, Senator Villar, to immediately take action on the NLUA, and ensure the bill’s passage.



Some members of CLUP Now! include the following organizations:

Kaisahan Tungo sa Kaunlaran ng Kanayunan at Repormang Pansakahan (KAISAHAN), NGOs for Fisheries Reform, Inc. (NFR), Urban Land Reform Movement (ULRM), Philippine Association for Intercultural Development (PAFID)Pakisama (Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka), Katutubong Samahan ng Pilipinas (Kasapi Lumad), Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal (SALIGAN), @John John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues (JJCICSI), Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development - ANGOC , Institute of Politics and Governance (IPG), Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (Phildhrra), Center for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development - Pilipinas (CARRD), Focus on the Global South (Focus), Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahan sa Kanayunan (PKSK), @Center for Agrarian Reform Empowerment and Transformation (CARET), Citizen’s Action Party (Akbayan Partylist), 53 Ektarya ng Makabud, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (Plcpd Foundation, Inc. ), Haribon Foundation (Haribon), Task Force Baha Talibayog (TFBT), People’s Campaign for Agrarian Reform Now (AR! Now- AR Campaign), Paragos Pilipinas (PARAGOS), National Rural Women Coalition (PKKK)Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB), Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center , Balay Alternative Legal Advocates for Development in Mindanaw (BALAOD Mindanaw ), and Alternative Law Groups (ALG).





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