IT’S quite clear in the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) MC 2019-172 on the compliance of local government units (LGUs) to have a formulated or updated Comprehensive Land Use Plan (Clup) and Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) by June 2020 or face administrative sanctions.
Apparently, most LGUs in Negros and Panay, including Bacolod City are without updated and approved Clup. And a number of them don’t seem to bother at all to formulate or update theirs.
It is either they don’t understand and appreciate the value and importance of Clup in the life of the LGU and in its development planning or they won’t do it because they will violate it anyway. The latter is quite rampant.
If the Local Government Code (LGC) is the bible of LGUs, the CLUP is their general framework in managing the land and resources in their given territory for a decade equivalent to three terms of a local official.
Clup is both planning and legal tools.
As a planning tool it defines areas where development can and cannot be done. It sets policy areas for production, protection, settlement, protection and infrastructure. It classifies lands according to its biophysical condition and uses.
As legal tool in the form of zoning ordinance, it is both a law and an enforcement mechanism by which officials and citizens must follow otherwise they face administrative and criminal sanctions. It defines the land spaces according to their agricultural, industrial, residential, commercial and institutional uses.
Thus, Clup is a form of controlled development, a sustainable development framework that meets the needs of the present generation, without sacrificing the next generations to meet theirs.
If Clup is a spatial planning in nature, CDP is sectoral planning. It sets the plans of the LGU on the basis of resources and land uses to address and develop the priority concerns and needs of the different sectors in the LGU.
Still it is a fact that not a few LGUs are violating their CLUP even their old versions by allowing developers and favored private owners to put up their businesses where they should not be. I know personally of few LGUs in Negros which allowed industrial establishments in their residential zone area, of cemeteries in commercial zone, of churches in commercial and institutional zones, of commercial establishments in residential zone.
Worse case is in one big city where big developers are running faster and far ahead of the city development planning turning the city’s reactive than proactive in development planning like how many and where to put up malls, business districts, industrial firms, housing and condominium. At the end, values of land jacked up several fold resulting to the deprivation of middle class and marginal sectors from having access to low cost land and housing.
Of course, the city increases its RPT or real property tax and revenues in general, but it also deprives and reduces the city’s capacity to make development choices and where to put up government led projects and managing its other property assets.
The worse of course are the many other LGUs inviting investors left and right and putting up of projects wherever they want, entering into loan contracts left and right, without the benefit of an updated and approved Clup.
On matters of CDP, it is also a common knowledge that most often those who crafted the CDP are few people in CPDO/MDPO, some elite consultants, and favored CSOs and POs of the local officials. Only in LGUs where CSOs and POs are independent, strong and assertive that CDPs have some elements of participation.
It is good that DILG, HLURB and DENR have become stricter in enforcing national laws standards and right practices pertaining to land use and development projects.
Last year they also jointly issued MC warning LGUs not to issue or renew business permits of commercial establishments, hotels, resorts if they don’t have STP and STP according to set requirements and standards.
A more straightforward, firm and decisive DILG is now in operations, and hell bent to enforce the laws even if it has to remove local officials.
I already warned personally some LGUs that they have to be serious in their commitment to good local governance, and that they have to comply with MCs and issuances of DILG or they face sanctions.
A number of LGUs and their LCEs who did not comply with road clearing have been given another chance, others given suspension.
So mayors, governors, barangay officials and all those in local public service, don’t take the present DILG lightly. It has already bitten not a few, and out to bite more “na pasaway”.