House leader eyes dev’t body for Davao Gulf

TAGUM CITY (MindaNews/16 June) – House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez will file next month a bill establishing the Davao Gulf Metropolitan Development Authority (DGMDA) that will “change the picture of Davao Region.”

The House of Representatives will resume session on July 24, after going into a 52-day sine die adjournment last June 2, with President Rodrigo R. Duterte addressing them in his second State of the Nation Address.

Alvarez told reporters during the groundbreaking of the Hijo Industrial Estates in Tagum City, Davao del Norte that the DGMDA will be similar to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

“This is an opportune time. Your timing is good because within the Duterte administration, we will change the picture of Region 11 (Davao Region),” Alvarez told the Tuason family, owner of the the Hijo Resources Corporation and developer of the 760-hectare master-planned township, the Hijo Estates, in the province.

The speaker said he expected the enactment of the bill before the second quarter of 2018 with a budget of about P500 million to operationalize it.

Once passed, he said an administrator will be appointed to oversee the development of the Davao Gulf area, covering Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur Davao Occidental, Davao del Norte, Davao City, and Compostela Valley.

He said he has already tapped Arch. Felino Palafox, a prominent Filipino urban planner, to create the masterplan, under which the shorelines will be evaluated and classified into commercial, agri-industrial, and residential uses.

He said most of the areas in Davao Region are used for agriculture but the areas within the first five kilometers off the shores of the gulf are no longer suitable for agricultural use.

He appealed for cooperation from the local government executives to efficiently materialize the plan and to encourage investors to locate within the Davao Gulf.

“By that time, after five years, the face of Davao Region will no longer be the same,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)