House OKs ban on conversion of irrigable lands
In a bid to ensure foods security in the country, the House of Representatives has approved on second reading one of its priority measures which prohibits the conversion of irrigated and irrigable lands.
According to a news report, lawmakers approved via a voice vote House Bill (HB) 7115, which seeks to amend the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 (CARL), or Republic Act (RA) 6657. The lower chamber is expected to approve the measure on third reading next week.
Through the changes made, offenders of the ban can be imprisoned for six years and one day up to 12 years, or a penalty of not less than P200,000 to P1 million or both, as the court deems necessary.
If the violator is a public officer, he shall suffer the additional penalties of removal from office and perpetual absolute disqualification to hold public office.
The bill defines irrigated lands as lands serviced by natural irrigation or irrigation facilities, as delineated by the Department of Agriculture or the National Irrigation Administration, while irrigable lands are those suitable for the conduct of agricultural activities which require irrigation and display physical features justifying the operation of an irrigation system.