Land conversion has been present and rampant in the Philippines for the past few years especially in areas surrounding Metro Manila. To clarify the term land conversion, it is defined by the Department of Agrarian Reform as “the act of authorizing the change of the current use of a piece of land into some other use” (Nantes 130). In this context, it would be focus on the conversion of agricultural land into some other use.
A brief history of land conversion around the region could be traced to the various developments in the city of Manila. When the Philippines was handed over from the Spanish to the Americans, the City of Manila was made and was composed of the former Imperial City which itself consisted of Intramuros, the Arrabales, Tondo, and Sampaloc (Tolentino). In order for the city to grow, the Americans hired an architect named Daniel Burnham to create the plan for the city (Tolentino). Unluckily, the Second World War took place which resulted to the destruction of the plan and the city (Tolentino). After the war and gaining independence on July 4, 1946, the country experienced good growth until the late President Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972 (Tolentino). During this time, the president united the city of Manila and 16 other municipalities (Tolentino). Today, we know these municipalities as the cities that compose Metro Manila except for Pateros which has remained a municipality. Based on that, we could notice that a lot happened in just three decades to have 15 municipalities turn into cities.
Apart from Manila, several other areas, more specifically provinces, were also affected by the developments. These provinces which experienced the massive conversion from agricultural lands into “residential, commercial and industrial estates” are Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Bulacan (Briones 71).
Land conversion surrounding Metro Manila, which covers Central Luzon (Region III) and CALABARZON (Region IV A), should be stopped as conversion of these lands can cause food insecurity, environmental and ecological instability, undesirable effects on the farmer, and some economic and social consequences.
One of the reasons why the Philippines shouldn’t undertake land conversion is because of the insufficient production to support the increasing population in the country.
In 2008, the International Rice Research Institute stated that to support all the Filipinos in terms of rice, 5.5 metric tons was needed. Unfortunately, only 3 metric tons were created (IRIN). In the following year, the Philippines collected 4.53 M hectares, much lower than what other Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam and Thailand which collected 39.1% and 58.7% higher (Philippine Rice Research Institute 7). The production of rice in February 2012 was 23.6% lower than the previous year’s 3.05 million metric tons. From the above figures, it can be inferred that the Philippines has not been producing enough to supply the needs of its citizens and to...