GenSan’s infra master plan seen completed this year

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/08 May) – The city government is pushing for the completion by the third quarter of the year of the city’s Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Development (SUID) master plan.

Nael Cruspero, head of the City Planning and Development Office, said Tuesday the crafting of the master plan is currently on track and they expect its initial draft to come out as scheduled by next month.

He said a team of experts commissioned by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) earlier conducted a stakeholders conference to analyze the needs of the city.

NEDA had tapped four consulting groups – Orient Integrated Development Consultants Inc. (OIDCI), Engineering and Development Corporation of the Philippines, Pacific Rim Innovation and Management Exponents Inc. and CEST Incorporated – to formulate the master plan through a P63-million grant.

“They will show us the draft by June and we can either accept it or change direction. It is expected to become a final master plan by the third quarter,” he said during the city council’s en banc session.

Cruspero said the plan, which will guide the city’s infrastructure development programs and projects in the next decade, will mainly complement with the local government’s development vision.

He said the consultants used the city’s draft comprehensive land use plan, which is still pending at the city council, as the beginning document for the SUID master plan.

The official specifically cited the city government’s efforts to “densify” its urban center by promoting more developments within the downtown area.

Cruspero said the move is aimed to discourage further sprawl or more people going away from the city center that could create various problems later on, among them the lack of public transportation systems.

“We will encourage more high-rise dwellings and fill in the vacant lots within the urban center,” he said.

In a briefer, OIDCI said the master plan will address “issues and challenges faced by the city that are brought about by rapid urbanization.”

It will provide the overall framework that will guide policy-makers, local chief executives and program or project implementers in the provision of the necessary policy, regulatory, and strategic and integrated infrastructure interventions in the area.

The master plan will contain short, medium and long-term infrastructure investment programs that will contribute to agreed development goals on inclusive growth, ecosystem protection and conservation, culture and heritage preservation, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, water quality improvement and upgrading of human settlements, it said.

“It will outline a sponsorship strategy for all levels — local, regional, national — for championing, funding, and implementing identified priority programs, activities, and projects,” it added. (MindaNews)