The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Soils and Water Management (DA-BSWM), is the nationally-mandated agency on sustainable management of soil and water resources for agriculture.

Over the years, the DA-BSWM was tasked to be the prime mover and convenor in safeguarding agricultural lands through the project, Strengthening and Mainstreaming the Evaluation Mechanism on Land Use Reclassification or SEMLUR.

SEMLUR started in 2018, and proactively aimed to ensure implementation and achieve continual improvement of national protocol or guidelines, which would ultimately cover technical evaluation on land use and land resources matters, including land use reclassification.

To continually streamline guidelines in terms of process, documentary requirements, forms/templates, and timeline/processing period following the provisions of Anti- Red Tape Act (ARTA), Ease of Doing Business (EODB), and Energy Virtual One-Stop-Shop (EVOSS), the Agricultural Land Management and Evaluation Division (ALMED) of the BSWM spearheads the activity to ensure that our country’s agricultural lands are protected and sustainably managed.

Thus, the conduct of a one-day virtual Zoom meeting, the Capacity Building on DA’s Role in the Land Use Reclassification Process: SEMLUR Output Presentation.

Present during today’s meeting were from the DA-Regional Field Offices, the Regional Technical Committee on Land Use Matters (formerly RTECLUM) Members, former National Technical Committee on Land Use Matters NTECLUM Members from DA Field Operations Service (FOS), DA Legal Service, Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), and National Irrigation Administration, and various Local Government Units (LGUs) from different regions of the country. A fruitful discussion and sharing of experiences transpired among the 68 attendees. 

As SEMLUR moves forward this 2021, the objectives are the following: achieve nationwide implementation and ensure continual improvement of the established national protocol or guidelines; advocate established protocols and guidelines to be followed and mandatorily embraced by all concerned stakeholders, including those outside of the DA; and, mainstream the implementation of protocols and guidelines.

It is also with the hope that the existing concerns and issues will soon be addressed to effectively safeguard agricultural lands for food security and sustainability.

SEMLUR is guided by the rules and regulations of Republic Act (RA) 7160 Memorandum Circular No. 54, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, authorizing cities and municipalities to reclassify agricultural lands into non-agricultural uses, Republic Act 8435, otherwise known as “Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act” of 1998, Memorandum Circular 54 series of 1993 and Joint Memorandum Circular of Housing and Land Regulatory Board (HLURD), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) series of 1995. Engr. Pablo M. Montalla is the Director of the BSWM, ALMED is headed by its Division Chief Mr. Bernardo Pascua and Ms. Jovette L. Tenorio, SEMLUR Project Focal. The DA-BSWM is committed to pursue and perform its mandate and safeguard agricultural lands in the country.