Massive land use reclassification alarms Bulacan

Published February 25, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

By Freddie C. Velez

City of Malolos, Bulacan — Massive land use reclassification in this province is alarming the provincial government, prompting Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado to call for greater protection and care for land resources and the environment.

“Our grandchildren already feel and experience the harmful effects of climate change and global warming. If this remains unchecked, we can only cringe at the thought of the kind of disfigurement our province and our country would suffer,” the governor said over the weekend.

He expressed alarm over the lost of sprawling agricultural land due to massive land use reclassification and conversion, adding that its harsh effects on food productivity and the environment as a whole can no longer be ignored.

He said that while he appreciates the benefits of progress and modernity, these should not be at the expense of the people and the province itself as the unabated and an indiscriminate practice of changing the use of otherwise fertile farmland to non-agricultural, such as residential, commercial or industrial, could ultimately result in destruction.

Alvarado said the many rustic and picturesque places that the province is known for may disappear altogether if the problem is not addressed properly. He said, too much reclassification and conversion might cause hunger in the long run.

“What kind of future would be in store for our children and the next generation? We understand that Bulacan is so blessed with natural resources, but we know these are not limitless, that’s why it’s our duty to conserve,” he added.

Alvarado while calling on the agencies tasked with approving land use reclassification and conversion to consider its serious impact on food production and climate change also stated the importance of vegetable farming and vowed to empower the farming communities in producing enough, accessible and affordable food for everyone.

“Let us prioritize environmental protection through sustainable agriculture and don’t forget the time when the Philippines was among the biggest rice producing country in the world and have the best agricultural training institute in Asia, where today’s major rice exporting countries like Vietnam and Thailand have their farmers trained and study,” he said.

The governor said that Bulacan produces various vegetables, meat and fish being sold in Metro Manila public markets. That’s why he said, farmers should not be blinded by the lure of easy money by selling their fields with modern highways linked to farm to market roads, agricultural products now has easy access to markets and profits.