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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

NEDA Board-NLUC to strengthen the monitoring, evaluation system for agri land reclassification

As part of its long-term policy measures in addressing food self-sufficiency, the NEDA Board-National Land Use Committee (NB-NLUC) will strengthen the monitoring and evaluation system for agricultural land reclassification.

In the second meeting of the NB-NLUC on 4 June 2009, officials of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) presented the Decision Mapping Manual for Land Use Monitoring which it issued in 1997 in line with its mandate to design and install  a monitoring and evaluation process/system for agricultural land reclassification done by cities and municipalities.

The HLURB however told the NB-NLUC that the manual's full operationalization has been impeded by the difficulty of preparing the required maps and of monitoring spot zoning as well as limited financial assistance and manpower among local governments.

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) also pointed out the need for local governments to coordinate with their office to ensure that areas being proposed for reclassification to nonagricultural uses are not covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

NEDA Deputy Director-General Augusto B. Santos urged the NB-NLUC technical working group (TWG) headed by HLURB to already convene and "act speedily as much is yet to be done for the improvement of the monitoring and evaluation system".

Land reclassification is the first step towards land use conversion, which is seen as a deterrent to increased rice production.  Per Memorandum Circular 54 (s. 1993), HLURB is mandated to design and install a monitoring and evaluation system for the reclassification of agricultural lands authorized by cities and municipalities.

The TWG, chaired by the HLURB with the Departments of Agriculture (DA), Agrarian Reform (DAR), Interior and Local Government (DILG), NEDA, and the Leagues of Provinces, Cities and Municipalities as members, was created last December to review the current agricultural land reclassification process, determine gaps, and recommend an effective monitoring system for agricultural land reclassification.

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