President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has suspended the processing and
approval of all conversion applications for rice lands to ensure rice
The suspension was contained in Administrative Order No. 226 which was
signed by the President last May 16, Friday.
Covered by the two-year suspension are "all land conversion
applications affecting rice lands, and lands mentioned under Republic
Act 8435 considered as Network of Protected Areas for Agricultural and
Agro-Industrial Development (NPAAD) which includes and covers all
irrigates areas, all irrigable lands already covered by irrigation
The AO also covers:
• all alluvial plain land highly suitable for agriculture whether
irrigated or not;
• agro-industrial crop lands or lands presently planted to industrial
crops that support the viability or existing agricultural
infrastructure and agro-based enterprises;
• highland areas located at an elevation of 500 meters or above and
have the potential for growing semi-temperate and high-value crops;
• all agricultural lands that are ecologically fragile;
• mangrove areas; and
• fish sanctuaries.
In issuing AO 226, the President cited the "policy of the state as
declared under Republic Act No. 8435 to assure the availability,
adequacy, accessibility of food supplies to every Filipino at all times."
The same RA states that "the State shall ensure that the poorer
sectors of society have equitable access to resources, income
opportunities, basic and support services especially in areas where
productivity is low"; and that "the State shall promote food security,
including sufficiency in our staple food, particularly the rice supply."
President Arroyo also stressed that "to meet the needs of the
increasing number of Filipinos, there is a need for the production of
rice to be optimized to meet our local needs and consumption."
The President added that "there is a need for all lands utilized and
intended for rice production to be protected from any other land use
or conversion… to ensure sufficient rice supply."
The AO 227 tasked the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to implement
the order which shall take effect "immediately after publication in a
newspaper of general circulation."
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