Members of the Regional Land Use Committee (RLUC) VIII expressed their support to the Leyte Sab-a Peatland Forest Restoration Project during the Second Semester 2020 RLUC VIII Meeting on 10 November 2020 in Zoom.

The four-year project aims to protect, restore, and manage around 1,936 hectares of the Leyte Sab-a Basin Peatland area, which covers the municipalities of Palo, Alang-alang, Sta. Fe, and San Miguel, to sustain its ecosystem services.

Peatlands are vital features of the local ecosystem as they help regulate water flow, helping minimize the risk of flooding and drought in low-lying areas. Crucially, they also play an important role in the long-term climate change mitigation by moderating atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.

Municipality of Palo Mayor and League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) – Leyte Chapter President Frances Ann Petilla expressed her support to the project saying that they are willing to take part in any activities for the conservation, protection and management of the Leyte Sab-a Basin Peatland Forest.

Meanwhile, the provincial government of Leyte, in partnership with the DENR, will take the lead in convening the concerned local government units (LGUs), to discuss the establishment of the Leyte Sab-a Peatland as a Local Conservation Area (LCA) through a provincial ordinance.

Other concerned agencies also committed to present their plans in the Leyte Sab-a Peatland area in the next RLUC VIII meeting to be integrated in the enhanced management plan of the DENR.

The Committee also tackled the status of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP), Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP), and Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plans (PDPFPs of LGUs in the region.

The RLUC VIII is the region’s highest policy-making body on land use and serves as a venue to discuss the rational utilization and management of land and other physical resources in the region to ensure their optimum use consistent with the principles of sustainable development.

Article and Photos by:  Knulp Aseo/Grace Arteche, NEDA VIII