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MANILA, Philippines – Despite having been part of the Duterte administration-backed slate in the recent elections, Senator Cynthia Villar has qualms about President Rodrigo Duterte’s request for Congress to pass within the year the national land use act.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, July 24, Villar said deciding how to utilize land should be determined by the local government units and not a centralized authority.
“Who will remove it from the local governments to centralize it? Do you want all the ire of the mayors in the Philippines? That’s their power,” she said from the sidelines of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines’ sustainable agriculture forum in Pasay City.
“No congress will do that…. Now they want to centralize it? I don’t want to do that,” she added.
Villar, who had listed bills she wanted to refile on Wednesday, said that the land use issue does not fall under the Senate committee on agriculture and food, where she will continue to serve as the chair.
However, the Inquirer reported that Villar was also elected as the chair of the committee on environment and natural resources, which will be in charge of taking up the proposed national land use act.
In the 17th Congress, the House of Representatives passed the land use act, but the measure got stalled in the Senate under Villar’s environment committee. President Duterte has been asking for the passage of the bill every State of the Nation Address since 2017. A similar measure was also certified as urgent by the Aquino administration before him in 2013. – Rappler.com