By Tara Yap
Pavia, Iloilo –This town is fighting to save remaining farmlands from being taken over by real estate developers.
Speaking at the 45th Carabao-Carroza Festival, Mayor Michael Gorriceta said only three barangays in Pavia remain as agricultural lands.
The Special Agri-Fisheries Development Code declared Cabugao Norte, Pagsanga-an and Tigum villages as agricultural zones, which are essential for food production and food security.
“Even if companies want to purchase the land and convert it into subdivisions or industrial zones, it is not allowed,” Gorriceta told Manila Bulletin.
Pavia used to be a highly agricultural town until real estate firms started buying land to build residential neighborhoods for the growing workforce in neighboring Iloilo City, the regional capital of Western Visayas.
Goricetta said the carabao race was a tribute to a bygone farming practice that used carabaos to plow the fields.
In a related development, Iloilo 2nd District Rep. Arcadio Gorriecta is urging the Department of Agriculture to identify areas still suitable for farming.
Aside from Pavia, land developers are mushrooming in the towns of Leganes, San Miguel and Zarraga.