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Floridablanca, Pampanga

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Executive Summary

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

Floridablanca’s potential for development lies on its agricultural area. Its varied topography and soil however, also offer a wide array of opportunities for development hence; Rural Development was chosen as the most appropriate and suitable development strategy. Rural Development has Agriculture as the main focus. Quarry materials will also be developed as raw material for construction and other possible marketable items to provide employment and business opportunities to the local populace. Through Rural Development, the goal of sustainable utilization of land resources could be easily achieved with support of rural industries and agro-businesses.

 

The current use of Floridablanca’s land resources shows that 9,821.77 hectares or 55.98% of the total land area are for agricultural purposes: crops such as rice, sugarcane, cassava, vegetables, inland fishpond farming (fishpond); and poultry and livestock raising. An evaluation of this use however, reveals that only 54.09% or 5,313 hectares are being put to productive use; the remaining 45.91% or 4,508.77 are under-utilized. Despite under utilization of the agricultural area, it could be noted that  Floridablanca’s potential for development lies on its agricultural area. Its varied topography and soil however, also offer a wide array of opportunities for development hence, Rural Development was chosen as the most appropriate and suitable development strategy. Rural Development has Agriculture as the main focus. Quarry materials will also be developed as raw material for construction and other possible marketable items to provide employment and business opportunities to the local populace. Through Rural Development, the goal of sustainable utilization of land resources could be easily achieved with support of rural industries and agro-businesses.

 

The current use of Floridablanca’s land resources shows that 9,821.77 hectares or 55.98% of the total land area are for agricultural purposes: crops such as rice, sugarcane, cassava, vegetables, inland, fishpond farming (fishpond); and poultry and livestock raising.

An evaluation of this use however, reveals that only 54.09% or 5,313 hectares are being put to productive use; the remaining 45.91% or 4,508.77 are under-utilized. Despite under utilization of the agricultural area, it could be noted that Floridablanca is the second largest producer of rice in the province. It produces rice more than sufficient for its requirement. In 1999, only 34.76% of its produce was used for its own rice requirement resulting in a surplus of 65.24% equivalent to 17,553 metric tons.

Other crops that are found sufficient are sugarcane and cassava. Floridablanca was once to have one of largest sugar mill in Region 3, the PASUMIL until it closed business in 1992, resulting in the displacement of many sugarcane laborers. Farmers have to sell their produce in the P ASUDECO in San Fernando. The closure has contributed to the regression of the once thriving economy in Floridablanca, a depressive economic condition which the sugarcane workers and families still experience. At present although it still produces sugar this is not comparable to the volume of produced when the PASUMIL was existing. It could also be noted that the closure of the sugar mill has contributed greatly to the land grabbing problem in Floridablanca. Displaced workers, who have no other way of earning a living tilled former sugar lands that were left unattended to support their foods and needs and, in the passing of years took possession of the properties.

 

Floridablanca also produces other crops but these were not sufficient to meet the population’s requirement. In the area of poultry and livestock, a surplus has always been recorded. This could be attributed to the considerable presence of livestock producers in the municipality.

Floridablanca’s strength on the agricultural area has to be developed to attain its desired economic progress and improve the economic status of its population. The vast rich soil offers opportunities for the town to become a self-reliant community.  Fully utilizing these resources in a sustainable way will ensure abundant food for generations to come and sufficient surplus to exchange and sell for social and leisure services.

 

The goal in agriculture is increased production and decreased labor. The unutilized vast area could be used to specialize in one type of crop that has potential and required in the international/foreign market. Otherwise, sugar plantations, root crop production and pasture land for livestock are still the best method of using the unused agricultural area of Floridablanca. Fruit orchard in the upper terrains also promises economic returns, fruit bearing trees like mangoes are found suitable and viable to the climate; Diversified farming in the lowland will be intensified with the objective of achieving self-sufficiency. Apart from the traditional rice, farmers will be encouraged to engage in livestock and poultry rising and inland fish farming.

The progress of agricultural-based municipalities like Floridablanca depends upon its ability to produce a surplus of food to maintain a non-farming labor force and to be supplied in the urban areas. Like other agricultural towns, the percentage of farm workers is constantly depleting every year. It is necessary therefore to consider converting traditional farming in a more productive method whereby every farmer could produce sufficiently to feed more people. The dwindling number of farmers on the coming generations should be expected since the youth are becoming inclined to engage in less laborious and more profitable occupations. For this reason farm mechanization and automation in the future should be given a considerable interest this early to maintain and improve agricultural production in the future.  Self-sufficiency is a basic step towards a self-reliant community. A self-reliant community if properly managed is a sure way to economic and social progress.

 

LAND USE PLAN

The existing general land use of Floridablanca consists of 55.98% agricultural, 21.25% built-up, 8.42% forest, 3.55% military reservation, 2.19% mining and quarrying and 0.99% for industrial. Lahars area constitutes 6.62%. (Table 51)

By the year 2005, the built-up area is expected to slightly increase by 1.89% or 70.33 hectares. This is to accommodate the additional household population during the planning period. The area of expansion is along the surrounding existing settlements.

In support of agricultural development, the conversion of agricultural land during the planning period will be limited to only 2.07% until the year 2005. Hence, the decrease of 203.77 hectares of the existing agricultural area was posted. Industrial area increased by 168.53 hectares or an additional 96.59% of the existing land for industries. This is to accommodate the expected agro-industries to be established in support of rural development. Other uses of the land resources which reflect no changes are those for military reservation, forest use and mining and quarrying.

The lahars area which has been the burden brought by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in Floridablanca constitutes 1,336.31 hectares. Quarrying in these areas will be strictly limited to avoid erosion of adjoining sites and to be able for former communities to reclaim their properties in the future. This will be reflected in the Zoning Ordinance. Within the next five years, it is expected that an alternative fruitful use of the lahars area could be determined.

Urban land has a total area of 4,379.58 hectares representing 24.96% of the total municipal area. (Table 52)

By the year 2005 urban land use is expected to increase from 4,379.58 hectares to 4,595.80 or a difference of 49.37%. By then, urban land composes 26.19% of the municipal area. The noted changes are decrease in the Agricultural use from 2,321.62 hectares to 2,250 hectares or a decrease of71.62 hectares, Residential land will increase from 1,763.21 hectares to 1,970.80 or 207.59 hectares, which is due to the expected expansion of urban settlements, Institutional area also posted an increase of33.28 hectares from 146.72 hectares to 180 hectares, Commercial use increases by 43.83 hectares from 101.17 in 1999 to 145 hectares in year 2005 and open space increases from 146.86 hectares to 50 hectares.

The projects and programs needed to be implemented during the planning years in support of the Land Use Plan includes Conduct of Actual Surveys to Determine Barangay Boundaries and Land Area, Identification and Development of Dumpsite for Garbage, Conduct of Seminar on Waste Segregation and Recycling, and Tree Planting of Denuded Forests and Public Open Spaces.

 

Solid Waste Management

Floridablanca has a growing problem on waste and garbage particularly in the populated areas. The problem is mostly due to misinformation of the public on the ill-health effect of throwing waste and garbage anywhere they desire. There must be an information campaign on how to properly manage household garbage the system of segregation, recycling, and composting in the household level is still the proven effective method of managing wastes. The municipal government for its part must conduct the information-dissemination on proper waste segregation and recycling in the Barangay level. The identified potential dump site for the municipality is ~ isolated site at Barangay Solib. A feasibility study for the site will be conducted to ensure that it will not pose any danger to the lives of the people living nearby and cause environmental degradation. Garbage trucks to regularly collect the waste must also be provided.

 

SETTLEMENT PLAN

The existing development pattern in Floridablanca is a combination of strip linear development (settlements are parallel, to and on both sides of the main road) and central, and nodal: the Basa Air Base represents the node supporting the Poblacion as the captive market and at the same time providing health and education services and facilities to its area of influence.

The urban area of Florida blanc a constitute the settlements at Barangay Del Carmen, Valdez to Mabical and Poblacion to Cabangcalan and to portion leading to San Jose and Basa Air Base. Other barangays are classified rural based from the wide area of farmland. Settlements are parallel to the existing roads with patches of farmlands in between and about twenty meters behind the existing settlements.

 

There are four (4) clusters of upland communities inhabited by the Aetas. These are barangays Nabuklod and Camachile and sitios Mawacat and Malabni. These communities are within 18-50% slopes of hills located along the mountain ranges near the Zambales boundaries. The nearest urban center is Guagua which is just about 6 kilometers from the poblacion and can be reached by a 20-minute jeepney ride and San Fernando, the provincial capital, which is about 16 kilometers has a travel time of 30 minutes under normal traffic condition.

Floridablanca’s population depends on these major urban centers for tertiary level facilities where colleges and universities, hospitals, commercial centers and leisure and recreational facilities are available. A big percentage of its labor force engage under the services sector is also employed in these municipalities.

Within the next five years (2001-2005), only a slight change in the expansion of settlement is expected. This is due to the availability of vacant land within the existing settlements enough to accommodate new settlers. An assessment of the present number of housing units recorded a surplus. The reason could be that some household victims of Mt. Pinatubo availed housing units at the Porac Resettlement Area and still maintained their former dwellings in their respective barangays.

Farm-families, apart from their respective houses maintain huts on their farms. These were also recorded as part of the Housing Inventory of the municipality.

 

The Floridablanca Resettlement is located adjacent to the Basa Air Base. It has an area of 85.24 hectares and 3,643 housing units with an average lot of 94 sq. m. Basic facilities include road network, drainage system, water and electrical system. Community facilities present are: ten-bed clinic, a day care center, town hall, and a fire and police station, gymnasium, productivity centers, market and 40-classroom elementary and secondary school. Apart from the Floridablanca Resettlement Area, upland communities who were the first destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo were also provided with housing amenities forming the Nabuklod Resettlement Center. The Nabuklod Resettlement covers an area of 409 hectares. This is an upland community inhabited by majority of the Aetas. It has 400 housing units with average home lots of 200 square meters. It is also complete with water system and community facilities such as clinic, day care center, government center, market, multi-purpose hall and training center. It has also a 7-classroom school. The place was made accessible by an 8-kilometer concrete road. Of all the facilities, only the school is functional, health services are only available occasionally. The Aetas have no permanent lively hood they survive by planting and harvesting bananas and root crops and trading these in the lowland markets to supply other needs. The Basa Air Base is an independent community within Floridablanca. It is the home of the Philippine Air Force assigned in the province and their dependents. It is a community providing free housing and basic facilities to the personnel of the Philippine Air Force.

 

The Poblacion commercial area serves the population’s daily needs. College education is mostly sought in nearby town of Guagua and San Fernando. For minor health care and hospitalization the two hospitals the Romana Pangan and the Basa Air Base Hospital are sufficient to extend curative services.

The problems prevalent in the municipality are more economic in nature. Unemployment is the prevailing concern. There must be a way to provide employment to the former sugar workers. This may be through the promotion of rural industries such as furniture-making, handicrafts, iron craft, gifts, toys and house ware production, dressmaking and garments. Formation of cooperatives or associations will be encouraged to enable the workers to acquire appropriate skills through trainings and to secure financial assistance to support their employment or business endeavors.

 

A Municipal Employment Assistance Office will be operated by the municipal government to provide linkages with other agencies to generate job placements for Floridablanca residents. (Table 54)

Government agencies and private organizations will be mobilized to assist the rural population. Capability building and skills trainings will be provided to out-of-school youth and rural folks to prepare them to the fast changing economy so as not to confine themselves as plain farmers.

 

Farmers will be encouraged and motivated to find ways to add value to their products. For example, commercial crops such as cassava and sweet potato may be processed to non-perishable product that could be marketed locally or for export. Linkage with proper government agencies and private enterprises will be affected to acquire steady markets for the products.

In the upland, it must be the local government’s priority to give them permanent livelihood to discourage Aetas from moving places and begging in the urban areas. Since the mountain and forest area are their permanent domain, they should be encouraged to engage in reforestation projects by planting trees for commercial purposes and root crops production. They should be treated as equal of lowland residents in terms of provision of social and economic services. Programs that respond to their basic needs must be a priority undertaking provision of modest housing, water, electrical power, education and health services. They must be assisted financially and provided with technical skills to engage in any viable livelihood endeavor that they have interest in such as crop cultivation, livestock and poultry raising, handicraft, basket weaving, bamboo craft and many others.

 

INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN

The existing road network in Floridablanca although could be considered more improved than other municipalities needs further improvement. Concreting of farm-to-market roads and access bridges is very essential so that farmers could readily bring their produce in the market. Feeder roads in the remote barangays also serve as solar dryers for harvested palay, hence the concreting of these roads serves the farmers in many ways,

To minimize damages from the undirected flow of rivers and creeks, engineering measures must be devised to direct flow of rivers, The measures to be undertaken are deepening, relocation, and armoring of dikes. To control flooding of low- lying areas, construction of drainage canals, culverts and spillways will be undertaken.

In support of crop production, irrigation facilities will be constructed to increase irrigation coverage of farmlands. Remote and upland barangays will be provided with water system and electrical connections to improve their living condition.

Other projects also includes the construction and improvement of telecommunication facilities and government buildings such as schools, Barangay health centers, day care centers, office automation and the like aimed at improving the delivery of social services.

 

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