By Ellalyn de Vera Ruiz
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will be submitting to the Cabinet a joint memorandum circular regarding applications for land conversion as early as next month.
DAR Secretary John Castriciones said “initial submission will be with the Cabinet on March 4 and after that, we will present it to the President.”
An inter-agency task force created by President Duterte has been meeting several times to abide by the President’s mandate to streamline land conversion processes from at least 24 months to 30 days.
The application process for land use conversion from agricultural to residential, commercial or industrial uses, currently concerns the Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Agriculture, Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, National Housing Authority, and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.
The Department of Energy is also involved in the process when conversion of agricultural lands is for the purpose of energy production.
These same government agencies comprise the special task force.
“In pursuing this endeavor, it is foremost in our plans that each step is environmentally viable and socially feasible. It should also protect tillers’ rights and ensure food security,” Castriciones said.
On the latest meeting of the task force, DAR Undersecretary Luis Meinrado Pangulayan, chairman of the inter-agency task force asked the involved agencies to look into their processes and identify the bottlenecks in each procedure.
“After identifying the obstacles, we also asked them to simplify procedures, shorten the number of days for processing, and do away with redundant certifications,” Pangulayan said.