Destructive and nonsustainable businesses, don’t bother coming to Davao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 2 March) – If your business is not sustainable and destructive to the environment, don’t bother bringing them here.

The city now intends to be stricter in its policy towards new investments coming in, especially that there seems to be a growing interest in Davao City since its former longtime mayor has now become president.

Ivan Cortez, head of the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO), told reporters Thursday that they would study carefully any proposed investments and ensure only those that help the business environment grow by sustainable means would be approved.

He said businesses that are not sustainable and destructive to the environment would be rejected.

“We are in the position of somewhat being choosy in terms of investments that should come in the city. It should be sustainable. (From now on), we will not just accept businesses,” Cortez said.

The CPDO issues the locational permits and is one of the local government bodies that issue permits to business owners. The other offices are the City Building Office for the building permit, City Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO) for the traffic impact assessment, and Business Bureau for the mayor’s permit.

Cortez said they would make a review on the local legislations, among them, the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP), 2005 Amended Revenue Code of Davao City and the Comprehensive Development Plan to make sure the city would seize the most benefits out of the economic opportunities.

Davao City Investment Promotions Center (DCIPC) head Lemuel Ortonio said his office would be more proactive in seizing new opportunities for the city now that it currently enjoys the “spotlight.”

“The City Government must not simply rely on receiving investment inquiries that are pouring in. It needs to be more proactive and take advantage of the spotlight the city has been receiving,” he said.

Ortonio said they would do investment and tourism roadshows and outbound business missions to other countries in order to get more interests from foreign investors.

“As the main marketing arm of the city government in promoting the city as an investment destination, our office will be organizing more trade promotion activities (investment and tourism roadshows with different business organizations as audience and outbound business missions to targeted countries) and participation in more fairs and exhibits in the next three years of Mayor Inday Sara’s (Sara Duterte) term,” he said.

According to DCIPC, some 39,887 new and renewed businesses with a capitalization of P232.886 billion were recorded as of third quarter in 2016, higher as compared to the 37,094 recorded in the same period in 2015.

Dr. Jean Lindo, an environmental activist from the Panalipdan-Mindanao, backed the city’s stricter implementation of standards in accepting businesses.

She added standards should be made in the context of climate change.

Lindo said the decision that businesses should be carefully studied, especially in the context of climate change, is a good move. “We should shy away from unsustainable resource extraction. We can consider people-led agro-ecology,” Lindo said.

“Investing on people is more sustainable than the usual mining or corporate agriculture or dirty energy businesses,” she added.

Chinkie Pelino-Golle, acting executive director of the Interface Development Interventions (IDIS), said the city should only accept businesses that are willing to adhere to its local policies.

“If that would mean being ‘choosy’ then let it be. After all, we are not only after the income but also those that will ensure sustainable development,” she said. “We will continue to support the LGU’s (local government unit) development direction that ensures sustainable resource and environmental management and prefer local economy development.”

Golle said they vow to support the city for its sustainable initiatives but the city government should continue to listen to the civil society groups in the consultations for any critical policies concerning the environment.

On January 26, 2016, the City Council passed on third and final reading the amendment to CLUP that eradicated the 10 percent provision of the green space and incorporated it into the 30 percent open space, which drew the ire of environmentalists here.

The proposed amendment did not succeed, however, after it was vetoed on February 22, 2016 by then Mayor and now President Rodrigo R. Duterte for being “vague and ambiguous, prejudicial to public interest and an exercise of legislative power in ultra veris (beyond the powers).” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)