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March 21, 1995





SECTION 1.   Legal Basis

1.1       Title 1 Chapter 2, Sec. 20 of RA 7160, otherwise known as the new Local Government Code of 1991 cites the authority of a city or municipality to reclassify agricultural lands and provide for the manner of their utilization or disposition, to wit:   aSIATD

            "Section 20.   Reclassification of Lands. — (a) A city or municipality may, through an ordinance passed by the sanggunian after conducting public hearings for the purpose, authorize the reclassification of agricultural lands and provide for the manner of their utilization and disposition in the following cases: (1) when the land ceases to be economically feasible and sound for agricultural purposes as determined by the Department of Agriculture or (2) where the land shall have substantially greater economic value for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes, as determined by the sanggunian concerned: Provided, That such reclassification shall be limited to the following percentage of the total agricultural land area at the time of the passage of the ordinance:"

(1)        For highly urbanized and independent component cities, fifteen percent (15%);

(2)        For component cities and first to third class municipalities, ten percent (10%); and

(3)        For fourth to sixth class municipalities, five percent (5%): Provided, further, That agricultural lands distributed to agrarian reform beneficiaries pursuant to Republic Act Numbered Sixty-Six hundred fifty-seven (R.A. No. 6657), otherwise known as “The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law”, shall not be affected by the said reclassification and the conversion of such lands into other purposes shall be governed by Section 63 of said Act.

1.2       Section 20.c. also specifies that “The local government units shall, in conformity with existing laws, continue to prepare their respective comprehensive land use plans enacted through zoning ordinances which shall be the primary and dominant bases for the future use of land resources; Provided, That the requirements for food production, human settlements, and industrial expansion shall be taken into consideration in the preparation of such plans."

1.3       Moreover, Rule V Article 36 of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991 cites the approved zoning ordinance as requirement for reclassification, to wit:

"A city or municipality may reclassify agricultural lands through an ordinance enacted by the sanggunian after conducting public hearings for the purpose provided there exists an approved zoning ordinance implementing its comprehensive land use plans."

            1.4       The abovementioned condition is further re-affirmed by Article 41 as follows:

"The comprehensive land use plans shall be the primary and dominant basis for future use of local resources and for reclassification of agricultural lands."

SECTION 2.   Definition of Terms

2.1       Agricultural land refers to land devoted to agricultural activity and not classified as mineral, forest, residential, commercial or industrial land (Section 3(c), R.A. No. 6657).

2.2       Conversion is the act of changing the current use of a piece of agricultural land into some other use.

2.3       Reclassification of agricultural lands is the act of specifying how agricultural lands shall be utilized for non-agricultural uses, such as residential, industrial, commercial, as embodied in the land use plan. It also includes the reversion of non-agricultural lands to agricultural use.

2.4       Comprehensive Development Plan refers to a document embodying specific proposals for guiding, regulating growth and/or development. Its main components are the sectoral plans, i.e., socio-economic, infrastructure, local administration, land use plan.

2.5       Comprehensive Land Use Plan refers to a plan which includes a land use map, the factors indicating the socially desired mix of land uses and a set of policies to guide future development.

2.6       Zoning is the delineation/division of a city/municipality into functional zones where only specific land uses are allowed. It directs and regulates the use of all lands in the community in accordance with an approved or adopted land use plan for the city/municipality. It prescribes setback provisions, minimum lots sizes, building heights and bulk.

2.7       Zoning Ordinance is a local legal measure which embodies regulations affecting land use.

2.8       Private Agricultural Lands are lands devoted to or suitable to agriculture, as defined in R.A. No. 6657 and owned by natural or juridical persons, or by government in its proprietary capacity.

SECTION 3.   Rationale for Reclassification

            LGU's may apply for reclassification of agricultural lands for any of the following reasons:

3.1       In view of their requirement for additional areas for urban expansion and human settlements to accommodate the current and projected increase in population and socio-economic activities;

3.2       If actual urban growth and expansion has veered from the approved land use plan thereby requiring the need to reclassify lands along the actual direction of development;

3.3       Significant National Projects as certified by NEDA require areas not previously covered in the land use plan.

SECTION 4.   Scope and Limitations

4.1       Cities and Municipalities qualified to apply for reclassification are those with Comprehensive Land Use Plans (CLUPs) approved by HLRB or the Sangguniang Panlalawigan after 01 January 1989;

4.2       Cities and Municipalities with CLUP's not falling within the above mentioned categories, must update their CLUP's incorporating proposals for reclassification;   HTAEIS

4.3       Agricultural lands may only be reclassified as stated in Sections 1 (b) (1) and (2) of Memorandum Circular 54, to wit:

"(b)      Agricultural lands may be reclassified in the following cases:

(1)        when the land ceases to be economically feasible and sound for agricultural purposes as certified by the Regional Director of the Department of Agriculture (DA), in accordance with the standards and guidelines prescribed for the purpose; or

(2)        where the locality has become highly urbanized and where the land will have greater economic value for residential, commercial or industrial purposes as certified by the local government unit concerned. The city/municipality concerned should notify the DA, HLRB, DTI, DOT and other concerned agencies on the proposed reclassification of agricultural lands furnishing them copies of the report of the local development council including the draft ordinance on the matter for their comments, proposals and recommendations within seven (7) days upon receipt.”

4.4       Agricultural lands that may not be reclassified are as follows:

a.      Agricultural lands distributed to agrarian reform beneficiaries;

b.      Agricultural lands already issued a notice of coverage or voluntarily offered for coverage under CARP; and

c.      Agricultural lands identified under AO 20, s. of 1972 as non-negotiable for conversion.

SECTION 5.   Requirements For Reclassification

            HLRB regional offices shall serve as the coordinating agency for the issuance of the certification:

5.1       The local government unit (LGU's) through the City Development Council (CDC) of the Municipal Development Council (MDC) as the case maybe shall submit to the HLRB the proposal for reclassification together with the following requirements:

a.         Application for Reclassification (4 copies. See Reclassification Form “A”);

b.         Map indicating the proposed lands to be reclassified, location and proposed utilization. Map scale shall be 1:20,000 or larger (4 copies).

            (The smallest parcel to be reclassified should be distinctly identifiable.)

c.         SB/SP resolution proposing reclassification and stating that the locality has become highly urbanized and the land will have a greater economic value for residential, commercial or industrial purposes.

d.         Brief textual report on specific changes (4 copies):

d.1    Proposed land use allocation and utilization of lands to be reclassified;

d.2    Total land area of proposed reclassification;

d.3    Specific portion of the land use plan which will be amended/revised due to the reclassification proposal.

e.         Copy of the revised Comprehensive Land Use Plan/Zoning Ordinance incorporating reclassification proposal and specifying the manner of utilization and disposition of the proposed land to be reclassified.

f.          Draft SB/SP ordinance citing the proposed reclassification and certifying that the locality requires land for urban expansion to accommodate the increase in population and economic value for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes;

g.         Certification that LGU has conducted public hearings with attached list of attendance;

h.         DA Certifications (to be processed in one (1) month) [Reclassification Form “B”].

h.1       Certification from the Department of Agriculture’s Regional Land Use Technical Working Group and the Regional Director;   aIcDCA

h.1.1 the total area of existing agricultural lands in LGU concerned based on the approved Comprehensive Land Use Plan/ZO prior to this application for reclassification;

h.1.2 that such lands are not classified as non-negotiable for conversion or reclassification under AO 20 (1992); or

h.1.3 that the land ceases to be economically feasible and sound for agricultural purposes (optional if 5.1.c has been complied with)

i.          DAR Certification (to be processed in one (1) month) [Reclassification Form “C”]

i.1     Certification from the Department of Agrarian Reform’s Regional Center for Land Use Policy, Planning and Implementation (RCLUPPI) indicating that such lands are not distributed or covered by Notice of Acquisition under CARP;

i.2     Certification from the Regional Director recommending grant of request for reclassification specifying location, lot numbers, OCTs/TCTs and TD Nos. and the corresponding area and land owners.

j.          Copy of LGU letter notifying the DTI and DOT that a certain number of has. of land are proposed for reclassification for tourism and industrial purposes, if applicable.

SECTION 6.   Procedures For Reclassification

            Step 1.            Municipal Development Council/City Development Council Concerned:

1.1    Determines/checks if LGU has Comprehensive Land Use Plan [CLUP] approved after 01 January 1989.

a.      if not, updates CLUP/ZO as per EO 72

b.      if yes, proceed to 1.2

1.2    Identifies lands for reclassification and revises Land Use Plan/ZO delineating areas endorsed for reclassification [specifying the manner of utilization and disposition of the reclassified land].

1.3    Conducts public hearing presenting areas for reclassification.

1.4    Recommends/endorses subject land for reclassification to the Sangguniang Bayan/Sangguniang Panglungsod for approval.

            Step 2.            Sangguniang Bayan/Sangguniang Panglungsod Concerned:

2.1    Passes a resolution certifying that the locality has become highly urbanized and the land will have greater economic value for residential, commercial or industrial purposes.

2.2    Notifies DOT and DTI that a certain number of has. are proposed for reclassification for tourism or industrial purposes, if applicable.

2.3    Secures required certification from the Regional Offices of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) which shall issue the same in a period of one (1) month per agency.

2.3.1            DA certification as per Section 5.1.h and Reclassification Form B;

2.3.2            DAR certification as per Section i.1; i.2 and Reclassification Form C;

2.4    Receives favorable endorsement from DA and DAR

2.4.1            Updates Land Use Plan and Zoning Ordinance delineating actual areas for reclassification as endorsed by both DA and DAR

2.4.2            Drafts an ordinance authorizing reclassification of subject lands.

2.4.3            Prepares and submits all requirements (see sec. 5.1.a to j) to HLRB for review and approval.

N.B.             If either DA or DAR does not issue a favorable endorsement for reclassification, identify, substitute lands favorable to both DA and DAR and/or limit reclassification to lands without conflict and revises CLUP/ZO indicating substitute lands and/or delineating lands without conflict.

         (Substitute lands must undergo a public hearing, process and properly endorsed as per steps 1.1 to 1.4)

            Step 3.            HLRB Regional Office Concerned (One (1) month)

3.1    Checks completeness of requirements as listed in Sec. 5 if complete proceed to 3.3;   HEcSDa

3.2    If incomplete sends notice of deficiency to LGU concerned informing that the HLRB 30-day processing period is temporarily suspended until submission of complete requirements (Reclassification Form “D”)

3.3    Reviews the application in accordance with EO 72 and:

a.      Determines if the comprehensive land use plan and zoning ordinance specifies the manner of utilization and disposition of the lands subject for reclassification; and

b.      Checks if the limitation for the reclassification were complied with and determines if the percentage limitation of the proposed reclassification was based on the area of zoned agricultural lands per approved CLUP/ZO prior to application for reclassification as endorsed.

b.1       If the proposed area for reclassification is within the prescribed limit, grants approval of new request for reclassification as endorsed by DA, DAR and as delineated in the revised CLUP/ZO (Reclassification Form “F”) [only for highly urbanized and independent component cities see list on Annex 2];

b.2       Evaluates and endorses application for reclassification to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for approval [For all component cities and municipalities (1st to 6th class)] Reclassification Form “G”;

b.3       If the proposed area for reclassification exceeds the prescribed limit, notifies LGU that their application exceeds the prescribed limit and was endorsed to NEDA for appropriate action. (Reclassification Form “E”).

3.4    Authenticates all reclassification documents.

3.5    Prepares/transmits decision to LGU concerned, copy furnished DA and DAR.

SECTION 7.   Flow Chart. — The procedural flow chart of the reclassification activities as described in Section 6 is appended hereto as figure 1 and forms an integral part hereof.

SECTION 8.   Penalty Clause. — Any violation of the provision of these guidelines shall be penalized in accordance with the penalty clause Section of the Implementing Rules and Regulations for RA 7160.

SECTION 9.   Separability Clause. — The provisions of these guidelines are hereby declared separable, and in the event any of such provisions are declared null and void, the validity of all other provisions shall not be affected thereby.

SECTION 10. Effectivity Clause. — These guidelines shall take effect immediately upon its publication in at least two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.

SECTION 11. Transitory Provisions

11.1 Cities and municipalities whose comprehensive land use plans were approved not earlier than 01 January 1989, which opted not to maximize percentage limitations at the time of application may only reclassify after five (5) years from date of approval of the first reclassification.

11.2 All further reclassification after the prescribed limit shall require approval from the President.   HDTSCc

            Approved this 21st day of March 1995, Quezon City, Metro Manila.




Department of Interior and
Local Government



Department of Agrarian Reform



Department of Agriculture





Housing and Urban Development
Coordinating Council  


Department of Agrarian Reform
Elliptical Road, Diliman
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel. No.: (632) 928-7031 to 39

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