Davao City sets eyes on improved wharf, expressway project with China

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/20 March) – The city government will begin improvement works on the decades-old Sta. Ana wharf to boost the city’s bid as a premier tourism destination in Mindanao.

City Tourism Office head Generose Tecson told a press conference Monday that they have been clearing the port of debris in preparation for some rehabilitation works that will transform the wharf into a recreational area.

“You will see a difference by May,” she said of the wharf that serves as a jump-off point for island hoppers.

She said the city wants to spruce it up by adding more facilities that will attract more tourists like a terminal for boat passengers, restaurants, stores and baywalk.

But she stressed that they are not pouring in more budget for the project because they want to invite volunteers to help in transforming the area and investors to establish businesses there.

“We are thinking about that but I cannot tell you kung ano ang maging (about the) mechanics. We want to put souvenir shops there, restaurants hindi lang yung (not just a) high-end park,” she said.

She added they already came out with an integrated plan for wharf development which she described as a continuous work until the end of term of presidential daughter and Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

She said it was the mayor herself who ordered for the development of the rundown wharf during their last meeting.

The mayor wants the city to do “something doable immediately for the park”, she said.

No major overhaul will be done on the wharf’s infrastructure component, she said.

Meanwhile, the city government welcomed the agreement between the Philippines and China on the conduct of the preliminary feasibility study for the proposed Davao City Expressway.

Davao City Investment Promotions Center head Lemuel Ortonio said the project will help the city improve connectivity and accessibility.

Last Friday, Finance secretary Carlos G. Dominguez and Vice Minister Fu Ziying, China’s International Trade Representative, formalized an agreement on the conduct of preliminary feasibility studies for the proposed expressway and Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges projects.

Ortonio lauded China’s interest in Davao Region and Palawan as sites for its investments and cooperation with the Philippines in the fields of agriculture, aquaculture, and fisheries.

“This is another benefit for the city considering that we are a highly agricultural city. This will definitely help boost the agri and fisheries industries in the city,” he said.

Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ronald Go said he welcomes this new undertaking that will bring about opportunities for investment, trade and commerce and boost the local economy.

“We laud this declaration of support and hope that something concrete truly develops out of this,” he said.

In a press release the Department of Finance said Philippines and Chinese officials signed the agreements during the visit of Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang in the city.

It said Wang met with President Rodrigo R. Duterte and discussed with his cabinet officials the progress of the cooperation between the two countries on implementing the Philippines’ large-scale infrastructure projects through Chinese grants and concessional loans.

Wang expressed China’s support for the Philippines’ chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is commemorating its 50th anniversary this year.

The press release added that the Chinese official emphasized during that meeting last week here that China considers the ASEAN as a “diplomatic priority” and that the Philippines, as chair of the ASEAN this year, will “make a big contribution in regional cooperation.”

In that meeting, Dominguez shared the Duterte administration’s optimism on the early conclusion of the talks on the China-led RCEP.

“We look forward to continue the discussions on the promotion of free trade partnership via the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership where China is also taking the lead. We are very much optimistic for its early conclusion which would help us further diversify our export markets,” the press release quoted Dominguez as saying. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)