IDIS, along with other CSOs, participated in the series of workshops for the updating of Davao City’s Land Use Plan
The City Government of Davao’s land use plan is focused on decongesting the city’s urban center. While this is a welcome development, the City should ensure that environmental critical areas and green zones outside the current urban district remain protected and will not be compromised in the development process.
Davao has decided to retain among its top priorities food security and ecological protection by maintaining 60% of the city’s land area to be devoted for agriculture. To achieve this shared goal, these two should be non-negotiable for reclassification:
Agricultural to non-agricultural conversion
As the City gears towards continued development, high premium must be placed on our agricultural lands. They shall be protected by all means necessary, to ensure food supply and food security for Dabawenyos.
The City through the Comprehensive Land Use Plan and Zoning Ordinance should restrict land conversions especially agricultural areas to non-agricultural. One concrete example would be the existing Gaisano Grand Mall in Calinan. The building has affected farmlands which could have yielded the city a more economically beneficial if its original use to ensure rice and food supply was retained.
We further recommend that the City should:
- Map productive and non-productive agricultural areas in Davao City and strictly prohibit reclassification of productive agricultural areas. For non-productive areas, a recommendation for its reclassification can only be made if there is proof for a need to reclassify the same.
- Aspire to increase the production of food crops such as rice for local consumption;
- Identify more areas to be declared as organic agricultural (OA) zones, provide appropriate support for organic farmers to increase production and market opportunities, and establish more buffer zones in these zones to protect them from contamination; and
- Due to the rise of demand of reclassification appeals from homeowners’ associations applying for socialized housing, encourage settlement build up only in existing Rural Settlement Zones (RSZ) to protect prime agricultural areas to be reclassified. The government should survey lands/prepare clustered areas for socialized housing and relocation, rather than scattered separate sites.
Water resources zone to other allowable uses
Water Resource Zones are crucial for Davao’s sustainable water supply. These are areas on top of identified locations of principal source of drinking water where Davao City Water District has existing or planned production wells within 350-meters buffer zone.
Granting of additional allowable use is prohibited in these zones so applications for allowable use within/near these zones should never be approved nor entertained in the first place. Sadly, there have been applications that were approved including those projects in high density residential zones.
Thus, we recommend that:
- The definition of a Water resource Zone should not be limited to DCWD-covered areas with existing, planned or proposed production wells but should be expanded to include other areas which may have water resources;
- The 350-meter buffer area provision be increased/stretched since this current figure is insufficient to prevent damage/harm to water resources; and
- The Local Zoning Board of Adjustment and Appeals should refrain from recommending to the City Council applications for additional allowable use which are clearly within or near a water resource zone
Download our full position paper on the CLUP and Zoning Ordinance here.