Early this month Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio told the local media that the officials of the Davao Region are one in the idea of creating a Metropolitan Davao. This will be composed of the cities of Davao, Panabo and Tagum in Davao del Norte, the City of Digos in Davao del Sur, and the Municipalities of Sta. Cruz also in Davao del Sur, as well as the town of Carmen in Davao del Norte.
According to Mayor Sara the identification of the membership of Metro Davao was thoroughly discussed by the officials of the local governments concerned as well as the Regional Development Council. The mayor also said that the inclusion of the Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCoS) was not discussed. She did not give any reason.
However, the lady chief executive of Davao City disclosed that the regional officials are considering the inclusion of Nabunturan, the capital town of Davao de Oro (formerly Compostela Valley Province). She did not explain why the plan skipped the Municipality of Mawab which somehow altered the contiguity of the proposed Metropolitan Davao area coverage.
We believe that the creation of a Metropolitan Davao is apt in time. This is because the areas proposed to be included are experiencing massive social and economic growth over the last few years. Because of the economic boom that they are enjoying these days, they are also starting to experience basically similar problems attendant to fast developing communities. Thus, in order to provide effective solutions all the local government members of the Metropolitan Davao must come up with complementary development plans and projects that will already identify potential problems as well as solutions even before these are implemented.
Mayor Sara therefore, could not be wrong in saying that with a Metropolitan Davao, “We move as one.”
Attendant to this novel proposal is the inception of a Metropolitan Davao Development Authority (MDDA). This body will ensure that the aspirations of a Metropolitan Davao work in accordance to its plans and programs.
And the Davao Region officials who fleshed out the framework of the Metro Davao idea were correct in identifying the factors that require synchronized and one directional action of the member LGUs.
Yes, the LGUs under a Metropolitan Davao set-up must move as one in dealing with disaster mitigation and resilience, garbage disposal, traffic management, and planning for infrastructure projects that are responsive to the needs of communities and not as political souvenirs.
Even the inclusion of the factor on maintenance of peace and order as well as overall security of the member LGUs is a move in the right direction. With the contiguity of the areas covered by a Metro Davao no one LGU member can be isolated from threats of criminality, terrorism and even insurgency.
Somehow, the proponents of the Metro Davao creation appear to have the backings of government bodies that have as main mandate development plan and policies formulation. These agencies include the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the Regional Development Council (RDC), the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), and the Regional Peace and Order Council. What we believe one agency that should also be considered for consultation is the Regional Office of Civil Defense (OCD), or that of the Regional Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council. The latter agency, though kind of still an ad hoc body, could very well help in crafting a complementary Metro Davao Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan.
Again, the Davao Region has gone a long way in its development. And the strides are now by leaps and bounce when former Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was elected President of the Philippines and apparently is well of his way to fulfilling his “Build, build, build program” for the country. Within his three years in office almost all major highways, municipal and barangay roads in the region are lengthened, expanded and concreted. These major infrastructure projects have become magnets to investors especially in the industry and property development sectors. But as we said earlier, development also gets its twins in social problems that need complementing approaches for its effective solution. And this realization could be the parent of the idea fast tracking the creation of a Metropolitan Davao.
But we are a bit intrigued at the non-inclusion of IGaCos in the proposed Metro Davao coverage? And why jump over Mawab and proceed to consider Nabunturan’s inclusion? Is it because it is the provincial capital of Davao de Oro whose governor is a leading member of the RDC?
What about IGaCOS? Is its inclusion not taken up by the Metro Davao proponents due to the city’s separation from the Davao mainland?
Or, could this be an indication that the Davao-Samal bridge project is not going to be realized at all?
We are just asking as many other Davaoñeos could be thinking of the same question as well.