Senate Chair Committee on Energy Sherwin Gatchalian has called on the current administration to rethink its plans in imposing a two-year moratorium on the conversion of agricultural lands for non-agri purposes, as it would hinder constructions of energy generation projects for the country.
“The Department of Agrarian Reform’s proposed conversion ban would be detrimental to the stability and sustainability of our country’s energy supply,” Gatchalian said.
The neophyte senator stressed that power plants and energy projects require a substantial amount of land, of which many of these are built on converted agricultural lands.
He added that the moratorium would be harmful to the renewable energy sector as certain projects need significantly larger areas of land in producing the same amount of energy as conventional coal and oil plants.
“The moratorium would severely impede our country’s ability to meet future energy demand by bringing the construction of new energy generation projects to a standstill. The economic consequences of continuing instability in our energy supply is something we simply cannot afford,” Gatchalian said.
Just last month, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael Mariano was expecting President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature on an Executive Order declaring the two-year moratorium.
“We are not sure yet when the President will sign the EO. But it will be primarily suspending for two years the processing and approval of all applications for land-use conversions of agricultural land to non-agricultural uses,” Mariano said.
Aside from Gatchalian, cabinet members and vice president Leni Robredo have also called on the Duterte administration that the proposed ban on land use conversion will have adverse effects on the economy.