Slow DAR action on land conversion hampering Davao investment climate

    Davao City officials said that slow action on application for conversion of agricultural lands by investors is affecting the business investment climate in the city.
    The applications for conversion of more than five hectares, to be acted on by the DAR Manila office, take years to be approved.
    The snail-paced action has put on hold many business projects in the city involving mostly real estate development and resorts in the outskirts of the city on lands classified as agricultural by DAR. The Davao City government requires the conversion permits before approving the projects and issue local permits.
    City planning officer Roberto Alabado said there are several investments having problem in conversion but the local government cannot impose on national agencies like DAR to speed up the conversions.
    But he said City Hall compromise by issuing “conditional permits” while the applications for conversion are pending with DAR.
    A case in point is the 30-hectare D’Leonor Inland Resort in Cabantian that has complied with local requirements but lacks a conversion permit from DAR.
    We have given them a conditional permit, said Alabado.
    Tourism and investment officer Jayson Magnaye said his office encountered similar probelms of investors finding it hard to secure conversion permit from  DAR.
    Magnaye could not give a figure on the number of the affected projects but agreed the slow process could stymy investors on pushing through with their projects.
    Alabado and Magnaye told the Durian Post that there may be a need to conduct a headcount of the projects affected by the slow conversion as it would deal a negative blow on the city as an investment haven.

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