FINALLY, the efforts of Third district Congressman Isidro Ungab have paid off. His bill seeking to create a Metropolitan Davao Development Authority (MDDA) was approved by the House of Representatives late last week on its third and final reading.
The bill principally sponsored by the Congressman will embrace some five cities and four (or is it five?) municipalities. The next hurdle before it finally becomes a law is the passage of a Senate version of the bill.
Then it will undergo harmonization and what will come out as the final version goes to the President for his signature after which it shall be published in a nationally circulated newspaper and entered in the government’s official gazette whereupon it becomes effective as a law.
We have no question as to the benefits it will bring to the places covered by the authority. It surely will fast track the development processes in the areas concerned and will make all the projects in each of the cities and towns included complementary with each other.
The only question that may have some relevance to be asked is, “How will it impact on the effectiveness of the ad hoc body which is the Regional Development Council (RDC) in this particular case, the RDC XI?” Will the functions of the RDC as the catalyst of development endeavors for the region still hold? Or, will it be limited only to areas outside the ambit of the MDDA? We are raising these questions because somehow many are possibly like us, puzzled as to where the limits of the RDC functions will only be with the creation of the MDDA.
There is this fear that without clear delineation by the law as to the province of the Authority vis-à-vis the RDC, there might be some unnecessary duplications or possible encroaching by the RDC or the MDDA. When that happens, then a much thicker layer of bureaucratic red tape could ensue and the development process could be hampered.
Of course knowing our district’s congressman we are certain that when he crafted the bill he could have already seen every possible loophole that may come the way of the law. Thus he surely has it covered.
We are now looking forward to the Authority law’s smooth implementation the soonest when it becomes ready.
Meanwhile, there is another bill which according to Congressman Ungab has also hurdled the third and final reading at the Lower House. It is the bill which he also authored — the one that seeks to authorize the City of Davao to operate its own radio station.
We had been strongly advocating for this information dissemination facility of the city because of the possibility that serious natural and man-made calamities could happen here and that it is extremely important that the city will have full handle in disseminating relevant and true information during times of disasters.
For now we are solely dependent on privately-operated broadcast facilities that may have to go through some processes before it can pre-empt any program to give way to allowing the use of its facility to broadcast information on any developing emergency.
May be it will not take so much of Congressman Ungab’s time or that of his district office if Davaoenos be given some updates of this particular bill.
The Congressman, we are certain, is not likely to fault us for having remembered our conversation through messenger where he told us of the existence of that approved bill. We are only asking for some updates. At least we and some other people in the city who are weary of misinformation during times of emergency like earthquakes, flood and storms, will have some peace of mind knowing that soon the era of unfiltered information will be over.
Another project that we had been strongly pushing for the city to undertake is a city-operated hospital. We are aware that a committee of the City Council has been studying the viability of such a project and the study has been made for quite some time already.
It was only recently that we heard about the possibility of such a project from Congressman Ungab also. He disclosed this during his recent visit to the UP-Mindanao compound to look into the status of the world class sporting facilities being constructed in the area with the congressman exerting the most efforts to have it realized.
According to Ungab somewhere in the area is the site of the city-owned hospital that will serve the people of Davao City.
We are eagerly awaiting for the realization of this very important project, hopefully soon. And even if these three big projects will characterize the terms of Ungab as congressman — the MDDA, the city-operated radio station, and the Davao City sporting facility – these will surely be his undying legacy to the people of Davao.
And if we have to add all the other existing development projects he has initiated in his district and in the city as well, then we can say that he has etched his name in the history of Davao City that will be remembered by the generations that will come after us.
Maybe it is the reason why we haven’t heard of anyone in the district showing interest in challenging Ungab come 2022 congressional elections. Or, are we just deceived by the unusual calm?
In closing this treatise, we are taking the opportunity to greet happy birthdays to first and foremost President Rodrigo Duterte, and second, to Secretary Leoncio “Jun” Evasco, HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIRS! May you have many more birthdays to come and more power!
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