Mayor Sara agrees with Pres. Duterte on making Davao City ‘last priority’ in ‘Build’ program

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 July) – Mayor Sara Duterte said on Tuesday that she agreed with President Rodrigo R. Duterte that Davao City should be the “last priority” in the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program.

The Matina Aplaya section of the 18.5-km Davao coastal road project, set to be completed in 2023. Photo taken 27 July 2021. MindaNews photo

In a statement posted on her official social media page, the mayor said that what her father said during his final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday about giving preference to infrastructure projects in other areas in the country was one of those that struck her as local chief executive.

She said the Duterte administration should ensure that other areas would get a fair share in the big-ticket infrastructure projects.

“With all due respect to the Dabawenyos, I agree with him so that those that have nothing will be given more, and those that are in need of more projects will be given attention and priority,” Mayor Sara said.

The program is the “centerpiece program of the Duterte administration” that aims to usher the “Golden age of infrastructure” in the Philippines, costing the government around P8 trillion to P9 trillion from 2016 to 2022 “to address the huge infrastructure backlog in the country,” according to the website.

At the start of his administration, President Duterte said that he directed the country’s economic managers to put projects in other areas high up on the priority list while the ones intended for Davao City last.

“During the initial years of my presidency, I told the economic managers and the DPWH, including [Secretary] Art Tugade of Transportation, ‘prioritize Luzon and other areas of Mindanao. Do not look into the political entrails of the city and other provinces.’ I intentionally made Davao last,” he said.

Duterte, a long-time mayor of Davao before he became President in 2016, said priority projects would have been completed if he did not hail from the city.

“You (Dabawenyos) must understand that we really cannot prioritize Davao because I came from there,” he said.

Before becoming the country’s 16th President, he served as mayor of Davao from 1988 to 1998, representative of the first district from 1998 to 2001, mayor from 2001 to 2010, served as vice mayor to his daughter-mayor from 2010 to 2013, and mayor again from 2013 until 2016 with son, Paolo, as vice mayor.

Some of the ongoing multi-billion projects in the city are the first phase of the 18.50-kilometer Davao City Coastal Road worth P2.6 billion, 10.7-kilometer first segment of the four-lane Davao City Bypass Road Project worth P13.230 billion, and the High Priority Bus System worth P18.6 billion.

Duterte said Davao City Coastal Road will be completed by 2023. The government also vowed to push through with the 3.98-kilometer Davao City-Samal Island Bridge worth P19.321 billion and the 102-kilometer Tagum City-Davao City-Digos City segment of the Mindanao Railway Project (MRP) worth P81.7 billion using loans from the Chinese government.

Duterte said he directed the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Transportation, National Economic Development Authority, Department of Finance, and Department of Budget and Management “to be on full speed to ensure that our flagship projects will be completed within my term, especially those that would help disperse economic activity outside the densely populated Metro Manila.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)