THE Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Association Inc. (CREBA) has expressed support for the passage of the proposed National Land Use Act (NLUA), saying it would serve as a policy reference for all local comprehensive land use and development plans in all sectors.
“A national land use plan has long been needed by this country. If done correctly, it shall be a key policy reference for all local comprehensive land use and development plans in all sectors, including commercial, industrial, housing, and real estate,” CREBA national president Charlie Gorayeb said in a statement.
The said bill set four major categories of land uses for planning purposes: protection, production, settlements and infrastructure.
CREBA said the proposed land use plan is part of its five-point agenda for housing, which is aimed at raising housing production to 500,000 units per year over a timeline of 20 years.
Gorayeb said the NLUA bill should be in harmony with existing laws, such as Republic Act 7279, or the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 (as recently amended by RA 10884) covering all lands in urban and urbanizable areas; Presidential Decree 399 limiting the use of strip lands; and RA 7160, or the Local Government Code of 1991, empowering local government units (LGUs) to reclassify agricultural lands.
“The NLUA bill must also resolve the uncertainty as to where and what exactly is the extent of the ‘protected lands’ that are banned from conversion,” CREBA national chairman Noel Toti Carino said in a statement.
Gorayeb cited a CREBA study debunking the misconception that the real estate sector is to blame for food shortage in the country due to its “indiscriminate” conversion of lands.
The study found that the agriculture sector accounts for 42.72 percent or 12.5 million hectares of the Philippines’ total land area of 29.5 million hectares while developed or built-up areas only account for 2.52 percent or 741,353 hectares.
“The study indicates that lands built up or developed for non-agricultural uses—from time immemorial up to Year 2010—have hardly made a dent in the country’s total agricultural hectarage despite all the government and private infrastructure nationwide,” Gorayeb pointed out.
According to CREBA, the results of the study underscore the need for a national land use plan.
“What all these data tells us is the need for a rational and holistic land use policy that reflects the realities on the ground, covering all areas of land use, and factoring in all the development requirements of every sector to achieve a well-balanced and stable economy,” CREBA said.