Republic of the Philippines HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Quezon City, Metro Manila TWELFTH CONGRESS First Regular Session HOUSE RESOLUTION No. 237 __________________________________________________________________________________ Introduced by Reps. SATURNINO C. OCAMPO, CRISPIN B. BELTRAN, LIZA L. MAZA __________________________________________________________________________________ RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE APPROPRIATE HOUSE COMMITTEE/S TO CONDUCT AN INQUIRY, IN AID OF LEGISLATION, ON THE EXTENT OF LAND USE CONVERSION AND/OR RECLASSIFICATION AND ITS IMPACT ON THE COUNTRY’S AGRARIAN REFORM PROGRAM, FOOD SECURITY AND ECOLOGY AND TO UNDERTAKE A REVIEW OF ALL LAWS, MEASURES AND JURISPRUDENCE PERTAINING TO THE SAME, AND PENDING SUCH INQUIRY, TO CALL FOR A MORATORIUM ON LAND USE CONVERSION AND THEREAFTER PROVIDE THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES A REPORT OF ITS FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS WHEREAS, Section 4, Article XIII of the 1987 Philippines Constitution states that "The State shall, by law, undertake an agrarian reform program founded on the right of farmers and regular farmworkers who are landless, to own directly or collectively the lands they till or, in the case of other farmworkers, to receive a just share of the fruits thereof…."; WHEREAS, Republic Act 6657, otherwise known as the "Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988," defines under Section 4 that it "shall cover, regardless of tenurial arrangement and commodity produced, all public and private agricultural lands as provided in Proclamation No. 131 and Executive Order No. 229, including other lands of the public domain suitable for agriculture"; WHEREAS, since the implementation of RA 6657, the scope of lands for distribution under the agrarian reform program has been greatly reduced not only by the exempting and delimiting provisions of the said law but also by subsequent laws enacted, measures laid down and jurisprudence promulgated which justified the conversion and reclassification of agricultural lands to non-agricultural uses; these include among others Republic Act No. 8435, otherwise known as the "Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997," Section 20 of Republic Act No. 7160 otherwise known as the "Local Government Code of 1991," Department of Agrarian Reform Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 1999, Department of Agriculture Administrative Order No. 6, Series of 1998, Department of Justice Opinion No. 44, Series of 1990, and Province of Camarines Sur v. Court of Appeals, 222 SCRA 173 (1993); WHEREAS, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) declared in 1996 that some 50,910 hectares of agricultural lands were converted to other uses nationwide based only on land conversion applications filed in the DAR office while the non-government organization Sentro Para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (SENTRA) in 1997 estimated that a total of 105,537 hectares of otherwise agrarian reform lands were lost to land use conversion; WHEREAS, the unregulated conversion of agricultural lands has resulted in the piling up of cases in the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) and further delays in land distribution, thus greatly weakening the implementation of the government's agrarian reform program;
WHEREAS, the alarming conversion of agricultural lands has also affected the issue of food security and ecological balance, with one UP Los Ba単os study estimating that "a hectare of rice land converted to other uses is equivalent to the foregone annual rice consumption of 50 Filipinos" while former DENR Secretary Victor Ramos warned that "demand for land strips away at least 100,000 hectares from the remaining forests every year"; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, that the House of Representatives direct the appropriate committee/s to jointly conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the extent of land use conversion and/or reclassification and its impact on the agrarian reform program as well as the country's food security and ecology and to undertake a review of all laws, measures and jurisprudence pertaining to the same; RESOLVED FURTHER, that pending such inquiry as well as consultation with representatives of concerned government departments and agencies, farmers' organizations and non-government organizations, to call for a moratorium on land use conversion in the country; and RESOLVED FINALLY, for the appropriate House committee/s to report out their findings and recommendations on the matter to the House of Representatives. Adopted.
SATURNINO C. OCAMPO
CRISPIN B. BELTRAN
LIZA L. MAZA
HOUSE RESOLUTION No. 237 TWELFTH CONGRESS First Regular Session ____________________________________________________________________________...