Group decries lobby to set aside moratorium on land-use conversion

On Monday, A militant farmers’ group pointed out to the economic team of President Duterte that the two-year moratorium on land-use conversion had already been approved by the Chief Executive himself, amid continued lobbying by members of the economic team to overturn such approved moratorium. The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) refuted National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Director General Ernesto M. Pernia’s position that the land-use moratorium would worsen the housing backlog in the country. The group charged that Pernia’s lobbying to stop the moratorium on conversion of agricultural lands for other purposes, like industrial and commercial land, goes against the recent approval by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), which is chaired by Mr. Duterte and was convened by him recently after being rendered inactive during the Aquino administration. The PARC approved the two-year moratorium on land-use conversion upon recommendation made by the Department of Agrarian Reform. The KMP said “Pernia is confusing the land-use conversion as the solution, which will redound to economic development, instead of being a roadblock to the country’s goal of achieving food security”. Pernia said, “A moratorium on the conversion of agricultural land for other uses will limit the government’s ability to relocate informal-settler families and will delay the right-of-way acquisition of infrastructure projects”. “There is a big disconnect between the position of the Neda, Pernia’s benefactors from real-estate giants and the objective of PARC under President Duterte to preserve agricultural lands to ensure food security,” KMP Chairman Joseph Canlas said in a news statement. Canlas added, “The government’s economic team is using the plight of the informal-settler families in blocking the approved moratorium on land-use conversion, and pointed out that out of the P300 billion worth of public-private partnership (PPP) projects up for approval by the Neda, not a single one is a housing project”. “The Neda is shamefully using the plight of the poor and the perennial housing problem to block the land-use conversion moratorium proposed by the DAR, when in fact, the Neda authored the very same policy—the Public-Private Partnership program, which led to the demolition of tens of thousands in urban-poor communities and the displacement of farmers from farmlands,” the KMP said.     Source: businessmirror