DILIMAN, QUEZON CITY, March 2 — Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael Mariano directed its land use planning and conversion team and the DAR in Central and Eastern Visayas to prioritize applications for land conversion necessary for the construction of resettlement areas for those affected by super typhoon Yolanda.
“Three years after the onslaught of typhoon Yolanda, a majority of the affected families are yet to be relocated in safe resettlement areas. Many relocations sites are yet to be developed. That’s why it is necessary to issue this order of extension. The DAR will prioritize these resettlement areas over other applications for land use conversion,” said Mariano.
Mariano issued Tuesday, an administrative order (A.O.) extending for another year, the rules on land use conversion to expedite the process of resettlement and construction of houses for the victims of typhoon Yolanda in the Central and Eastern Visayas regions.
The A.O. prioritizes applications of land use conversion for the construction of resettlement areas for the typhoon victims over other applications for conversion of lands. It also expanded the authority of DAR Regional Directors’ and the department’s Regional Center for Land Use, Policy, Planning and Implementation (RCLUPPI) to decide on land use applications and to process applications for the same, from five hectares to 15 hectares.
According to Mariano, a land use conversion clearance from the DAR is one of the requirements needed by the National Housing Authority (NHA) to set up relocation sites for the victims.
“This A.O. would cover more lands and speed-up the processing of land use applications before it expires on March 5, 2018,” said Mariano.
Mariano said the A.O. shall apply only to land use conversion necessary for the construction of resettlement residential areas for those affected by Typhoon Yolanda.
On November 10, 2014, the DAR issued A.O. No. 9, series of 2014, containing special rules on applications for land use conversion for the construction of resettlement areas for Typhoon Yolanda victims.
“This was issued to streamline the processing of land use conversion applications for lands. But the A.O. expired last June 30, 2016,” said Mariano. (DAR)