Senate approves bill requiring SUCs to develop idle lands

By Hannah Torregoza

The Senate has approved the bill requiring all state universities and colleges (SUCs) to submit a land management plan to maximize the use of land resources within the universities and colleges on third and final reading.

Senator Francis Escudero (Francis (Chiz) Escudero Official Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN) Senator Francis Escudero
(Francis (Chiz) Escudero Official Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)

Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, chair of the Senate education committee and sponsor of House Bill No. 8370, otherwise known as the Act requiring SUCs to prepare and implement a land use development and infrastructure plan (LUDIP), lauded its approval.

The measure also seeks to provide a safe and decent living space for students who usually come from remote parts of neighboring municipalities and cities where the SUCs are located.

Passage of the measure into law would ensure an effective land use development and infrastructure plan that would utilize idle assets within the school, according to Escudero.

“It has been observed that some students, especially those coming from poor families, usually drop out of school saying they can no longer afford to pay the costly board and lodging near the universities or colleges,” Escudero said.

“It is necessary for the school to ensure the safety and well-being of the students by providing them dormitories inside the SUC,” he added.

Under the bill, faculty members and staff would also be provided with housing projects to enable them to work efficiently near the school.

The bill specifically requires all SUCs to submit a LUDIP which shall be linked with the local government units (LGUs) land use plan to ensure that these complement with the LGUs activities and projects.

No infrastructure project of the SUCs shall be approved unless their LUDIP has been implemented and submitted to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the measure stated.

Also based on the bill, SUCs may seek assistance and cooperation from the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), the University of the Philippines School of Urban and Regional Planning (UP-SURP), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and other government agencies as they craft their LUDIP.

Meanwhile, CHED, UP-SURP, and the HLURB shall design capacity building programs for the SUCs to enable them to develop and prepare suitable land use plans.