THE National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) submitted to Malacañang on Wednesday its position paper formally opposing the proposed two-year moratorium on the conversion of agricultural lands into subdivisions.
“The paper was signed by Vice President [Leni Robredo], Secretary Carlos Domiguez 3rd of the Finance department, Secretary Benjamin Diokno of the Budget department, Secretary Ramon Lopez of the Trade department and myself,” NEDA Secretary General Ernesto Pernia said on the sidelines of the 42nd Philippine Business Conference and Expo at the Marriott Hotel on Wednesday.
“And it’s already been submitted to Malacanang today,” he added.
He said the position paper basically argues that a moratorium on the conversion of agricultural lands, which is being proposed by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), is going to be “problematic for infrastructure projects, because it requires land and also housing and also much of the so-called agricultural areas are not really suitable for any crops.”
NEDA had earlier rejected the DAR proposal, saying it would worsen the prevailing housing backlog.
Despite the intention to ease poverty, NEDA said that the ban on land conversion is actually “anti-poor” as it would prevent the government and the private sector from addressing the 5.5 million housing backlog.
DAR wants to impose the moratorium—for which a draft executive order has already been prepared—to prevent the conversion of agricultural lands into subdivisions.
George Barcelon, president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), said “the business communities fully support the position taken by NEDA.”