Vice President Leni Robredo seeks to pass the “Land Use Law” that covers the land-use programs and policies to solve catastrophic events in the country following the successive damages brought by Typhoon Ulysses.
Robredo commented on the video of the late environment secretary Gina Lopez which has gone viral, saying Lopez was right in calling for the reforestation of the Marikina Watershed in 2017.
Lopez has long-warned the people to restore the forest in the capital region and protect the area against human exploitation to prevent flooding.
However, as the Upper Marikina Water Basin Protected Landscape granted its protection under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992, illegal activities continue to work on the area as seen on Lopez aerial inspection over the Pasig River and the Marikina Watershed.
The watershed has lost a thousand hectares due to commercialized land and illegal logging. Although Typhoon Ulysses was weaker than Typhoon Rolly, the nearby land in Marikina Watershed was already saturated enough to cause severe flooding in the capital region.
The latest update from the Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported 67 deaths at the onset of Typhoon Ulysses in the cities of Marikina, Pasig, Cagayan, and Isabela.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) reported recent damage to P6.378 Billion in infrastructure while the Department of Agriculture tallied P2.53 Billion damage to the affected farmers and agricultural lands.
In 2017, the President had urged the National Land Use Act (NaLUA) that was proposed by the National Land Use Committee (NLUC) as an urgent bill during his State of the Nations Address (SONA) in 2017. This is to ensure the sustainability and efficiency of the use of the country’s land and physical resources.
However, based on NEDA’s monitoring, the NaLUA bills are still in the 18th Congress which is currently slow in progression despite the President’s call to prioritize the issue.
If passed, the Land Use Law will cover fundamental forms such as adequate land for agriculture, legal space for mining, power generation, settlement development for housing and infrastructures, as well as hydrologic response to watersheds and ecological preservation to ensure the availability of land, use, and protection of its people as the population grows.
Furthermore, the Land Use Law is also important to understand the hydrologic response to rainfall, which is why Robredo is keen on the urgent approval of the Law.
Land-use planning in flood management is believed to make adjustments to existing flood problems.
Photo Credit: Office of the Vice President