[Press Release] Land use group seeks Pope Francis’ support for proper land use in the country -CLUP Now!

Land use group seeks Pope Francis’ support for proper land use in the country

In line with the Pope’s visit to the Philippines, the Campaign for Land Use Policy Now! (CLUP Now!) Network is seeking for Pope Francis’ prayers and support for a better land use in the country.

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“One of the highlights of the Pope’s visit is today’s trip to Tacloban to spend time with the survivors of super typhoon Haiyan,” stated Anthony Marzan, convenor of CLUP Now! “We are hoping that through this visit, Pope Francis sees how poor land use planning contributed to the devastation caused by the super typhoon. We hope that through him, our leaders will realize the implication of having a national land use policy and other environmental laws in addressing the disastrous effects of climate change. A good land use policy promises a safer future for everyone.”

CLUP Now! is particularly pushing for the passage of the National Land Use Act (NLUA) this 16th Congress. Through proper and controlled allocation of land, one of NLUA’s aims is to reduce the negative effects of climate change in the country.

Climate change is identified as the main reason why super typhoons like Haiyan occur. According to Elmer Mercado, land use expert, controlling and limiting the use of land resources especially in high-risk areas can reduce the devastation brought about by the typhoons. He emphasized that there should be a strong spatial restriction in areas at risk.

Rep. Kaka Bag-ao of Dinagat Islands, author of the NLUA in the lower house, also once pointed out the importance of having a national land use policy in building a disaster-resilient nation. “Good land use plans will result in a disaster-resilient community if properly implemented.” Bag-ao stated. She mentioned that proper land use planning covers issues on food security and environmental protection, as well.

Meanwhile, Senator Loren Legarda, author of the NLUA in the Senate, is also optimistic that Pope Francis will give a powerful message that will tap the importance of environmental laws such as the NLUA in creating a safer environment for the poor.

“Pope Francis understands that the poorest citizens of the world are the most vulnerable to the effects of environmental degradation. The Earth that we live in provides us with our needs, and even if we have all the money in the world, we will not survive in a deteriorating environment,” Legarda stated.“I hope this will be among his messages to the Filipinos so that we would be more mindful of our environment by respecting our environmental laws, veering away from a consumptive lifestyle, and working towards sustainability and resilience.”

Legarda also said that protecting and preserving the environment is a moral responsibility for everyone. “The impact of nature’s forces on vulnerable communities must be reduced to prevent disasters and alleviate poverty,” she added.

The Papal visit in the country is focused on addressing issues on climate change and poverty. The Pope is expected to issue an encyclical on climate change after visiting the country.

For more information, contact:
Kim Alvarez, CLUP Now!, 0918-6545059, kbalvarez@gmail.com
Gillian Cruz, CLUP Now!, 09157830489, gillianmariecruz@gmail.com
CLUP Now! Network, campaignfornlua@gmail.com

CAMPAIGN FOR LAND USE POLICY NOW!
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PRESS RELEASE
January 17, 2015

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