PARR: “No Build Zone” Policy not recommended in Yolanda-affected areas

From the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery

A “No Build Zone” policy in the Yolanda affected areas would have prohibited building any structure within 40 meters from the coastline.   However, Presidential Assistant for Recovery & Rehabilitation (PARR) Panfilo Lacson says that a blanket application of the No Build Zone will not address exceptional circumstances and may be impractical for certain areas.  For instance, Lacson points out that areas with fishing industries or tourism-oriented businesses still need to build structures within 40 meters from the coastline.  Other areas are located in high elevations which are not susceptible to storm surges.

Lacson recommends distinguishing between “Safe Zones” and “Unsafe Zones” and identifying “No Dwelling Zones.”

This would require mapping all the areas and determining the particular risks for each area (for example, inundation or landslides).  Based on this determination, PARR will recommend that no structures be built on “Unsafe Zones”.   The local government units will issue the appropriate ordinance with respect to land use.

For areas considered “Unsafe” but are needed for livelihood—such as areas where fishermen build structures—PARR proposes to consider them as “No Dwelling Zones”.  This means that structures necessary for livelihood or commercial purposes can be allowed on “No Dwelling Zone” areas, but residential structures will be prohibited.  PARR adds that in case of an impending calamity, persons in the “No Dwelling Zones” would be subject to emergency evacuation.

Asked whether some existing structures would have to be located, Lacson says: “There is no compromise especially when it comes to municipal halls and other government buildings in Unsafe Zones.  How can the local government respond to calamities when they are, themselves, susceptible to high risks when a calamity strikes?”

Lacson emphasized that the vision of PARR is to assist the government and the private sector in “building back better”.  “This would require building in areas that would not make structures at risk of being destroyed, or lives at risk of being lost.”