Environmental Planning for Real Estate Practitioners

By: Gus Agosto, EnP, REA, REB
President, PAREB-Cebu South Real Estate Board

(Speech delivered at PAREB-CEREB General Membership Meeting Held in City Sports Club Cebu, on July 30, 2015)

Good evening President Sammy Lao, Officers, Past Presidents, new members and guest.

Thank you for inviting me to speak on the Importance of Environmental Planning for Real Estate Practitioners. I will try first to discuss the basics of Environmental Planning. Then second, the historical role of PAREB on promoting the call for Land and its highest and best use and for its widest distribution. Lastly, I will end with a brief on the encyclical Laudatu Si of his emininence Pope Francis.

Environmental Planning

Fellow practitioners, today we are experiencing many problems such as flooding, heavy traffic, squatters, skyrocketing cost of prime commodities, unemployment and more. Without a feasible and long term solution, these problems will worsens as population grows exponentially year after year.

The solution lies on planning ahead, while solving short term problems at present. We should promote long-term and broad thinking. Here comes the importance of Environmental Planning. It is a discipline that deals with the study of the built environment, population, economy, infrastructures and the whole environment.

Real Estate practitioners’ keen understanding of zoning, infrastructure, resource allocation, transportation, traffic schemes, waste management will lay the foundation for efficient, environmental and equitable real-estate developments in the future, and in short term serve better our clients.

With knowledge on climate change, we can help in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Cebu City including Mactan Island is vulnerable to warmer sea temperature, extreme rain fall, river flow and flooding, ocean acidification, rise of sea levels, intense tropical cyclones, high climate variability, all of which are exposure of climate change scenarios.

Furthermore, Cebu City still has no land use plan. Our last Comprehensive Land Use Plan was in 1996 and until now, there is no land use plan yet. Based on Japan International Cooperation Agency, Metro Cebu’s population is expected to double from 2.5 million to 5 million by 2050 (1.2 M 1990). What does it mean for us? The City could not pass a zoning ordinance that will become a basis for regulations and will direct which structures or establishments should rise where.

PAREB Tradition

We in PAREB have a tradition in upholding the the physical environment, highest and best use of our land and ownership of widest distribution. We know the importance of Land Economics, where land is the basic component in real estate.

We studied land use, natural resources, urban and rural settlements, housing and all other factors that affect land as a limited resource. In economics, we studied how to allocate scarce resources for good use. Land, whose supply is finite, needs more attention and study, as to its BEST USE and worthy to live.

The livability of a city translates to higher real estate value and attracts more investors, both local and international. We should also help and support our fellow countrymen in achieving economic upliftment. In solving massive homelessness, massive unemployment should need to be addressed. Thus economic development should be pushed.

As real estate practitioner, our involvements in these issues were long overdue. We should start now and be involved in short and long term planning of our cities, province and regions.

Care for Our Home

I wish to end my speech with thoughts from Pope Francis Encyclical Laudato Si which means “Praised Be To You,”. Laudatu Si calls for care of our common home, the Planet Earth.

It is the first encyclical to focus primarily on creation care, the Christian idea that God gave humans the earth to cultivate, not conquer. In this encyclical the Pope called us to hold and raise the banner of intergenerational responsibility. He poses a challenging question “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?”

My fellow practitioners, the answer to that question lies on each and every one of us.

Maayong gabii sa tanan.

gus

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