The proposed national land use bill must be swiftly passed to prevent “unregulated and unrestricted land conversion” that endanger the country’s food security, Cabinet Sectary Karlo Nograles said over the weekend.
According to Nograles, the proposed National Land Use Act aims to protect agricultural lands for food security and sufficiency, among others.
“When we talk about food production, food availability, food price stability, and helping small farmers, land is important,” he said over Facebook Saturday night.
“When unregulated and unrestricted land conversion happens, food security is threatened,” said Nograles, chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger.
Nograles said if the conversion of agricultural lands goes unchecked, it could affect the agricultural sector and consequently the country’s food security.
“A National Land Use law can ensure that agricultural lands are not converted, as it will allow us to identify land that will be used for agricultural purposes,” he said.
The proposed national land use law is among the priority bills endorsed by President Duterte in his State-of-the-Nation Address last July. The bill aims to introduce a rational and the sustainable use of the country’s lands, harmonize sector-specific land use policies, and institutionalize land use planning.
Ensuring food security is part of the government’s priorities nowadays especially as the pandemic has left many Filipinos hungry and jobless. Nograles recently launched the government’s national food policy, a long-term, cohesive strategy seeking to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.