OR SUFFER nature’s wrath.
This is one of the major lessons that the local government units (LGUs) from the recent massive floods that affected most towns and cities in northern Negros, or those from first to third districts.
I know and appreciate the LGUs relief operations for those affected by massive floods. In the same breadth, I likewise appreciate the charity and humanitarian works of other civic organizations, non-government organizations, civil society organizations (CSOs) and even several riders groups.
But the bottom line of the tragic event points to LGUs lack of vision, mission, and effective plans and programs.
For one, I know that most LGUs in Negros don’t have approved comprehensive land use plan (CLUP) and comprehensive development plan (CDP) yet, and too bad, no effective forest land use plan (FLUP), coastal management plan (CMP), and protected area management plan (PAMP).
Worse, those with unapproved or unfinished ones, have their CLUP not adaptive to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Programs, as set by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) in its new framework and guidelines for CLUP preparation. I pity that some CLUPs are just like to-do wish list of some local officials. Nothing substantive realistically.
The recurring massive floods, landslides, destroyed rivers and river basins, are clear manifestations of how ravaged and destroyed our coastal systems, forests, protected frontiers, rivers and river basins – all caused by continuing destructive activities of mining, quarry, unsustainable tourism-oriented projects and activities, conversion of rich agricultural lands forestal areas and coastal lands to destructive projects.
In this regard, the DILG should work closely with the newly created Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has taken over HLURB functions, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, SUCs, CSOs and development consultants – in ensuring that LGUs are up to the thrust and guidelines in preparing CLUP, CDP, FLUP, CAMP, PAMP and that no comprises are dealt with erring and renegade LGUs and local chief executives (LCEs).
Of course, while the Department of the Interior and Local Government(DILG) should provide necessary capacity development assistance to LGUs, it should also be ready with penalties or administrative sanctions for LGUs and LCEs who don’t comply and do well with functions, responsibility and accountability.
DILG should also look into agribusiness farms, livestock and poultry farms, and sugar farm owners who not only pay for their business permits in operating their agribusiness lands and doing agricultural business but also not responsible enough to ensure that their farmlands and business are compliant with HLURB standards and are CCA (climate change adaptation) and DRR (disaster risk reduction)-adaptive.
Only when all of this are planned right and synchronized well with CCA and DRR thrusts and guidelines can disasters be managed well or prevented.