By LITO RULONA
MISAMIS Oriental provincial board member Wayne Militante on Monday sounded alarm bells over the reclassification of lands into residential, saying the conversions for the sake of subdivision development pose a threat to the province’s agriculture.
Provincial board member Wayne Militante said the land conversions were taking place in the province’s two component cities and various municipalities.
Militante, who is the chairman of the provincial board’s committee on land use and urban planning, said he was worried that the land conversions would eventually affect the food supply.
“Dili kini basta-bastahon nalang og convert, and then klaro kaayo nga mga agricultural lands,” he said.
Militante said any application for land conversion should be carefully examined by concerned government offices, including the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).
“We keep on complaining about food shortage but deliberately turn agricultural land into residential,” he said.
Militante’s committee is reviewing moves to reclassify a number of agricultural lands throughout the province.
Militante said lands in several municipalities, and the cities of Gingoog and El Salvador were found to have been reclassified even without completed Comprehensive Land Use Plan (Clup).
The Clup is a planning document prepared by local governments to rationalize the allocation and proper use of land resources. It projects public and private land uses in accordance with the future spatial organization of economic and social activities.
“Most of the affected agricultural land were rice and corn fields that are located near barangay roads and then, kini ang gina-target sa mga subdivisions developers,” Militante said.
Another provincial board member, Michele Anayron, said any land conversion needs the approval of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), and not only by the local legislative bodies.
Anayron, who is the head of the Philippine Councilors’ League federation in the province, said that without a DAR reclassification order, no land conversion can take place.