• Business, civil groups push for proper land use in Yolanda areas

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    The Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) has partnered with the Campaign for Land Use Policy Now (CLUP Now) in a push for proper land use planning standards in the rebuilding efforts for Yolanda-damaged areas.

    Businessmen gathered on Thursday at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel to discuss issues on land use planning to provide a long-term solution to the impact of disasters, especially those affecting businesses.

    The conference highlighted current rebuilding community developments in Yolanda-affected communities and creation of an enabling environment to put in place better land use planning in the devastated areas.

    “Typhoon Yolanda exposed the vulnerabilities of our economy and our businesses to climate disasters,” Rafael Lopa, PBSP executive director, said.

    He said business risks brought about by climate change could be mitigated if “we have better land use planning and enforcement.”

    “The role played by the business sector is crucial not only to the economy of the country but also more importantly to the improvement in the lives of the community that will result from economic progress,” said Lopa.

    Edward Ong, chairman of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry committee for education, spoke on the possible implications of effective land use planning in businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises.

    He said businesses are also prone to danger during calamities since some of them are located in geo-hazardous areas.

    For his part, CLUP Now convenor Anthony Marzan said the business sector, especially those in the small and medium enterprises, need to be informed on how proper land use can create a positive impact on their businesses.

    “As businesses are located in geo-hazardous and flood prone areas, operations of these businesses are not always secure,” he added.

    Marzan said the group has been actively campaigning for the enactment of the National Land Use Act (NLUA), which passed third reading in the Lower House on June 2.

    CLUP Now, a network of people’s organizations (POs) and non-government organizations (NGOs), believes that a national land use law will help present and future generations of Filipinos to adapt to climate change.

    “There is a need to immediately enact a National Land Use law that will define land use in our country intended to promote economic development that is sustainable and which caters to the interest of all members of our society,” CLUP said in a statement.

    Rep. Teddy Baguilat of Ifugao province, co-author of NLUA, explained that the measure will establish much-needed harmony with nature and become an important tool for planning investments.

    “The NLUA recognizes the limitations of land as a resource and thus provides local governments with the framework to identify and enforce go and no-go zones for particular activities,” he added.

    In the long term, Baguilat said the NLUA will help government avoid costs arising from the relocation of victims and rehabilitation of settlements, which can be expensive.

    The conference took place seven months after the super typhoon wrought havoc in the country that left P89.6 billion worth of damages.

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