THE National Land Use Act remains a government priority measure, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said.

“The Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) came out with a list of 20 priority measures for enactment by the end of December. In the longer list, the National Land Use Act is there,” Mr. Balisacan told reporters late Tuesday.

“It is more complicated than some of these other proposals. We’ve been trying to pass the National Land Use for so many decades. The tension between local and national is really intense,” he added.

Mr. Balisacan also affirmed that the government is still pushing for the passage of the bill.

“I think it’s a matter of time; we have so many other priority measures and these are evolving. Our primary concern now are fiscal (reforms), because we want to make sure that while we are ramping up spending on infrastructure and social services. The fiscal fundamentals remain strong,” he added.

In May, the House of Representatives approved on third reading the proposed National Land Use Act, which aims to “provide for a rational, holistic, and just allocation, utilization, management, and development of the country’s land.”

It also seeks to “ensure their optimum use to promote sustainable socioeconomic development and ecological protection.”

The bill proposes to form the National Land Use Commission (NLUC), which will be tasked with creating the National Physical Framework Plan (NPFP).

“The NPFP, which guides the planning and management of the country’s land and other physical resources at the national and sub-national levels, shall indicate broad spatial directions and policy guidelines on settlements development, production land use, protection land use, social services and utilities, transmission line corridor, and transportation and communication,” according to the bill.

The NPFP will have a 30-year timeline and must be updated every 10 years.

The NLUC will also serve as the “highest policy making body on land use” and will have the authority to resolve land use policy conflicts between or among agencies, branches, or levels of the government. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson