Urban Ape | All about land

INDIGENOUS Communities all over the planet deeply understand that land outlives humans.

This understanding was clearly enunciated by Macliing Dulag, the Kalinga Chief from the Cordillera Region who stated “How can you own that which outlives you? Only the race owns the land because the race lives forever!” Macliing Dulag got murdered for his resolute stand against a dam project that would have flooded over his community and other communities along the Chico River in the Cordillera Region. The outcry against his murder caused the World Bank to stop the financial package for the dam project. This was a watershed moment in the Indigenous People’s demand for Respect of their Right to Land!
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s call during the SONA urging the Senate to “urgently pass the National Land Use Act to put in place a national land use policy that will address our competing land requirements for food, housing, business, and environmental conservation” is underscores the need to put in place a “Respectable” Land Use Mechanism. This appeal to the Senate and the House of Representatives had also been made by the previous Arroyo and Aquino Administrations. Both Legislative Houses have come up with their proposals, yet NOTHING was ever passed. The passage of this National Act will have far-reaching consequences on how Filipino Politicians treat land and the rights of ALL other Filipino’s to Land. The president spelled out clearly his unequivocal stand.
Shortly after urging the Senate to pass the National Land Use Act (NALUA), President Duterte stated that “utilization of these resources is non-negotiable: the protection of the environment must be top priority and extracted resources must be used for the benefit of the Filipino people, not just a select few.” Similar declarations have likewise been made by other presidents. But this time, in the context of who and what President Duterte is as President, then it is time for us Filipinos and most especially Mindanaoans to pay attention to the crafting of the NALUA.
The declarations made by two former presidents and President Duterte are very clear indications that our legislators have to come together to sort out Philippine Land Use Policies. If the closure of Boracay is any indication, then these legislators should take heed. Earlier in the SONA, the president stated: “I have always believed that no matter how well-intentioned a leader is, no matter how well-conceived may be his mission, if he lacks the political will to do what needs to be done, then he can only end up a failure and a hopeless dreamer.”
I personally do not see the President as someone who would easily accept failure. He is a believer in the maxim “the end justifies the means”. Residents of Davao City know and have experienced what this truly means. I personally do not see the President as a hopeless dreamer! Never on his watch!
The president understands the vagaries of and about land. He truly understands that Land is the reason for the many conflicts here in Mindanao. The reason why settlers were sent to Mindanao was that of land problems in Luzon and Visayas. The reason why Lumads and Muslims were marginalized, was because of Land.
The NALUA is not just about RIGHT over land, but about the use of these lands. Davao City is uniquely situated in this advocacy for the passage of the NALUA. Davao City is the only city in the Philippines that requires projects to get a Water Management Council Clearance. If you are not aware of that, go ask city hall or any project holder in Davao City. Davao City is also the only city in the Philippines that has a restrictive land use plan. Davao City restricts certain activities (use) in specific zones (land areas) within its territory.
The various developments in Davao City are being projected by the President at the National Level. This alone is enough for me to say that indeed. Davao is becoming the Development Model for the Philippines!
[Next - Use of AND Rights to Land: Why the dichotomy]

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