December 2, 2023

A committee of the Regional Development Council discussed the possibility of converting abandoned mines in Benguet into housing or agri-tourism areas, among other land-related issues in the region.

In its recent meeting, the Regional Land Use Committee (RLUC) discussed the proposal of Itogon Mayor Victor Palangdan on the possibility of reclassifying the abandoned mines in Itogon, Mankayan, and Tuba, all in Benguet to make them settlement or agri-tourism areas.

The RLUC referred the proposal to the technical working group for further study and will also be presented to the Watershed Committee and the Committee on Indigenous Peoples’ Concerns.

The RLUC also tackled the proposed resolution urging the passage of a National Land Use Act (Nalua) that integrates Cordillera concerns and National Economic Development Authority inputs and the salient features of Republic Act 11201, the law that created the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD).

In July 2019, the RLUC endorsed the Nalua Bill endorsed by the National Land Use Committee, which considered most of the inputs of Cordillera, particularly the integration of ancestral domain sustainable development and protection plans in land use plans, the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples over ancestral domains, and the inclusion of the option to convert exhausted mineral and energy resource lands to ancestral domains.

The RLUC also recommended that the amended sections of the draft bill be restored to their original versions, including the definition of alienable and disposable lands and critical watersheds and the section on forest land boundary delineation to allow for the development of lands with slope above 18 percent in consideration of critical watershed protection and high-risk areas.

The RLUC requested the RDC to pass a resolution urging the immediate passage of a Nalua Bill that considers these concerns.

DHSUD Director Maria O. Amoroso also presented during the RLUC meeting the salient features of RA 11201, which includes the functions of the newly created department.

The presentation aims to assist the RLUC in identifying possible areas of convergence with the DHSUD. – Press release