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National Land Use bill re-filed

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Lucina Donato-Aquino (right), a 68-year old land reform beneficiary in the sprawling Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac affixes her thumbmark as her signature on the Application to Purchase and Farmer's Undertaking form after receiving her Lot Allocation Certificate (inset). She is among the first batch of 645 qualified beneficiaries to receive lot allocations on Thursday (July 18, 2013) in Barangay Cutcut, Tarlac. (MNS photo)

Lucina Donato-Aquino (right), a 68-year old land reform beneficiary in the sprawling Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac affixes her thumbmark as her signature on the Application to Purchase and Farmer’s Undertaking form after receiving her Lot Allocation Certificate (inset). She is among the first batch of 645 qualified beneficiaries to receive lot allocations on Thursday (July 18, 2013) in Barangay Cutcut, Tarlac. (MNS photo)

MANILA  (Mabuhay) — A lawmaker today expressed confidence that the proposed National Land Use Act would see the light of day in the 16th Congress.

Sensing the urgency of the matter, re-elected Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo filed HB 1083 seeking the establishment of a “National Land Use Policy.”

“The intent is to institutionalize judicious and effective land use through the provision of appropriate implementing mechanisms and strategies that will help the country attain sustainable and meaningful development,” Castelo said.

Castelo pointed out that the absence of such land use policy partly explains the country’s inability to move forward as it fails to justly provide for a national, holistic and just allocation and utilization, management and development of the nation’s land resources.

It may be recalled that a similar measure, a consolidation of several bills contained in HB 6545, was approved by the House of Representatives but unfortunately failed to hurdle the Senate during the 15th Congress.

A month before the final adjournment of the 15th Congress, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte himself was still hoping that the Senate could pass the measure since HB 6545 was one of the bills certified as urgent by the President.

The proposed land use statute should complement the proposed amendment to the Build-Operate-Transfer Law to encourage more private sector investments in infrastructure, Belmonte then said.

The proposed Land Use and Management Act implements reforms in land administration, eliminating wastages in resources and manpower, the authors said.

HB 6545 was a consolidation of several bills authored by then Akbayan and now Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-Ao, Jeffrey Ferrer (4th District, Negros Occidental), Senator-elect Juan Edgardo Angara (Lone District, Aurora), Diosdado M. Arroyo (2nd District, Cam. Sur), Gloria M. Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga), Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City), then Abante Mindanao Rep. Maximo Rodriguez and the late Reps. Salvador Escudero III and Ignacio Arroyo.

“The reform bill seeks to integrate all land administration functions currently dispersed among multiple agencies into a single agency, the Land Administration Authority,” Castelo added.

Congressional records would show that since the 8th Congress, the proposed Land Administration Reform Act (LARA) and related measures have been filed and refiled without much legislative success. (MNS)

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