TACLOBAN CITY -- The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has reminded housing developers for super typhoon "Yolanda" survivors to seek land conversion clearance before the March 5, 2018 deadline so they can take advantage of more relaxed rules.
The DAR regional office in the city reiterated the call with just 11 months left before the expiration of special rules as set in Administrative Order No. 2 issued last February 23 by Secretary Rafael Mariano.
The directive, which covers Central Visayas and Eastern Visayas regions, took effect on March 5 this year. It extended the special rules for land conversion, which has been implemented since 2014.
“All those who will develop Yolanda resettlement projects should apply for land conversion permit at the regional office before the expiration date or else they will have to submit the requirements at the central office,” said DAR regional director Sheila Enciso in a phone interview on Tuesday.
The special rule has increased the land conversion approval authority of the regional office to 15 hectares or three times more than the regular procedure.
Among the documents waived in the processing are true copy of land title as of June 15, 1988, original copy of tax declaration, proof of financial and organizational capability of the developer, socio-economic benefit study, and certification from the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board on land reclassification.
“Our office has been simplifying the process as the President (Rodrigo Duterte) called up for speedy construction of houses for Yolanda survivors. The expiration of the order is early next year because we presume that all resettlement projects will be ongoing by early of 2018,” Enciso said.
Mariano specifically issued the order to DAR's land use planning and conversion team and its field offices in Central Visayas and Eastern Visayas, the two regions badly hit by the 2013 monster typhoon. The two regional offices are only given 10 days to complete the process.
The rule applies to both government-funded houses and shelter donated by non-government organizations. However, for privately funded projects, they have to seek certification from the National Housing Authority (NHA) to prove that houses are meant for Yolanda survivors.
Since 2014 until last month, the DAR regional office here has already approved the conversion of 41 hectares for Yolanda housing in various sites in Tacloban City, Basey, Samar, and the towns of Pastrana, Carigara, Mayorga and Macarthur in Leyte.
A land use conversion clearance from DAR is one of the requirements needed to set up relocation sites. The NHA intends to build 205,128 houses for affected areas in the central part of the country. (PNA)