THE City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) reported that around eight percent of the 15 percent allowed land for reclassification in the city was already used, mostly for settlement purposes.
CPDO chief Ivan Cortez, in an interview with SunStar Davao, said the main reason for this is the growing population and development of the city. However, he said that the remaining land area allowed for reclassification is still 19,520 hectares.
"We have already reclassified around seven percent as a result of the 2013 zoning ordinance. Usually, mga subdivision projects owned by private developers," Cortez said.
"Reclassification or the zoning process is all about the right balance and between contrasting interests to the land. You have to take into consideration the importance of agriculture and settlement areas for expanding families," he added.
In 2013, CPDO stopped receiving reclassification application due to the amendment of the zoning ordinance.
It is only in 2018 that the city council started approving some application for reclassification, some are agricultural zones to residential zones and some are from medium-density residential zones to high-density residential zones, others are for conversion to commercial zones.
Cortes said that because of the growing population of the city, applications for reclassification piled up in their office. However, he said that the process is long due to environmental requirements and others that need to be considered.
"The demand for each sector is always growing and you have to find the right balance,” he said, adding that the city is balancing development, including the need of the people for settlement areas, and the preservation of its agricultural areas.
Meanwhile, Cortez said that in other highly-urbanized cities, they can go beyond 15 percent land conversion.
“You just have to express the interest to do that to the Department of Agriculture. There are certain parameters to do that,” he said.