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Gov’t moves to fast-track land-use conversion applications

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Karlo Alexei B. Nograles
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles — PHILSTAR

THE GOVERNMENT is preparing to issue a memorandum circular mandating concerned agencies to fast-track the processing of land-use conversion applications, Malacañang said on Friday.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles said in a press briefing at the Palace that various agencies are currently working together to “streamline the process involved in land conversion.”

He said the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) reported to the Cabinet last Wednesday that “there is an urgent need to streamline the current process for land conversion to address pending applications and to fast-track the approval and/or disapproval of new applications.”

To do this, Mr. Nograles said “different departments, namely the DAR, DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government), DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources), DOE (Department of Energy), HUDCC (Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council), NCIP (National Commission on Indigenous Peoples), NHA (National Housing Authority), LRA (Land Registration Authority), and HLURB (Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board), [among others,] have decided to work together to draft a Joint Memorandum Circular that will streamline the process of approval/disapproval of land conversion applications, from the 24-36 months, to 30 days.”

This memorandum circular, he said, will be finalized and presented to President Rodrigo R. Duterte for his approval “within 30 days or on or before the next Cabinet meeting.”

Last Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said Mr. Duterte, during the Cabinet meeting, expressed his exasperation over the slow processing of land-use conversion applications.

“The President was so frustrated, he spent I think half an hour saying that he was so frustrated about the requirements… He was dismayed (about an instance) that took two years without making progress on conversion,” Mr. Panelo said in a briefing.

Sought for comment on Friday, Mr. Nograles said DAR Secretary John R. Castriciones, despite the issue, still enjoys Mr. Duterte’s trust and confidence. — Arjay L. Balinbin