Published on December 19, 2013, ABS-CBNNews.com:

MANILA, Philippines – Developers are pushing for the creation of an online land information system to help in disaster risk reduction through improved land use planning.

The Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA) said the establishment of a Centralized Land Resource Information and Management and Geographic Information System may help avoid further development in high-risk areas.

The website would contain a comprehensive automated spatial database covering the entire country, various land uses, classifications and zones, areas under the Network for Protected Areas for Agricultural and Agro-Industrial Development, and the National Integrated Protected Areas.

SHDA, the national association of mass housing developers, is backing the passage of a National Land Use Bill and Management Act.

Under House Bill No. 108, access to information is limited to records and documents pertaining to official acts, transactions and data for policy developments of a national land use body.

SHDA said another version, House Bill 3122, calls for the development of the website once the law takes effect.

An online database, which includes geo-hazard maps, and other relevant maps, would be indispensable for private developers and the general public’s reference, monitoring and information, SHDA said.

All existing Comprehensive Land Use Plans (CLUP) of local government units would also be uploaded on the site, with clear illustrations of the boundaries of cadastral surveys of these LGUs.

“This allows LGUs to have effective and efficient land use planning and zoning. They will be able to adjust to the current situation of the respective land use necessity of each LGU, and with the national government as well,” said Paul Tanchi, SHDA Chairman.

“We must provide flexibility to allow changes. Nowadays, change can almost happen in an instant. What may be feasible today may not be feasible tomorrow, so the CLUP should be adaptable to those kinds of changes. A country benefits earlier from a new and superior plan and technology,” George Siy, SHDA Board Governor-Legislative Concerns, said.

Also, SHDA said any land management law should seek a balanced allocation of limited land resources while still upholding sustainable national socio-economic development.

The group said it supported the latest version of the land use act with a few exceptions.

Aside from increasing private sector involvement in land use planning, SHDA has also recommended that on top of the visionary time frame of 30 years, Comprehensive Land Use Plans of each locality should only have a ten-year plan subject to review and updating every five years.

SHDA is submitting proposed revisions as the bills involved are taken up in a Technical Working Group meeting before the Special Committee on Land Use.