AO nixes land conversion applications
by T. Villavert
Iloilo City (18 July) -- The government is gearing up to attain self-sufficiency in the staple crop in five years, amid the current food crisis sweeping across the globe.
To attain this goal, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has suspended for two years the processing and approval of all land conversion applications of rice lands under Republic Act 8435.
President Arroyo issued Administrative Order (AO) 226-A to ensure the sufficiency of rice supply in the country as she emphasized that it is important that all lands utilized or intended for rice production are protected from any other land use or conversion.
The Malacanang press report disclosed that only 90% of the country's requirements is locally produced and the 10% supply shortfall is imported, mostly from Vietnam and Thailand.
AO 226-A stipulates that it is the policy of the government to ensure that the poorer sectors of society have equitable access to resources, income opportunities, basic and support services especially in areas where productivity is low.
"To meet the needs of the increasing number of Filipinos, there is a need for the production of rice to be optimized to meet our local needs and consumption," the President said as she directed the Department of Agrarian Reform to implement the order which she signed last July 14, 2008. (PIA) [top]