The Infrastructure Development Committee (IDC) XI convened, through video conferencing, for its 2nd Quarter CY 2022 Regular Meeting on 31 May 2022.

In his Opening Message, the IDC XI Chairperson and Regional Development Council (RDC) XI Private Sector Representative (PSR), Mr. Arturo M. Milan, acknowledged the Duterte Administration for the infrastructure programs and projects that have greatly contributed to the continuing development of the Region. He likewise expressed his optimism for the incoming administration to sustain funding allocation for the Region’s priority infrastructure programs and projects in the coming years.

For the meeting’s business agenda, the Committee approved the Region’s infrastructure sector performance for the planning period through the Davao Regional Development Plan Accomplishment Report (DRDPAR), 2017-2022 in preparation for the formulation of the successor Davao Region Development Plan. In summary, out of 90 indicators with substantial updates, 33 were below target or not on track to achieving the end-of-plan targets, while 57 were on-track or exceeded targets. Among the persisting challenges of the infrastructure and housing sectors are as follows:

  1. Road transport projects encountering implementation delays due to road right-of-way acquisition;
  2. Power generation rely on the actual nomination of the customer Distribution Utilities;
  3. No cellular and broadband coverage particularly in far flung areas/remote barangays;
  4. Slow development and lack of investments in irrigation service coverage;
  5. Limited funding for health and education facilities;
  6. Limited access of rural areas to Level II and Level III water supply facilities;
  7. Lack of investments in solid waste disposal facilities;
  8. Lack of investment in sanitation infrastructure;
  9. Maintain and fast track implementation of public safety and security infrastructure;
  10. Emerging urban flooding;
  11. Limited manpower and financial resources of LGUs in implementing housing projects and in completing the Local Shelter Plan (LSPs);
  12. Low budget utilization of shelter agencies due to stringent requirements; and
  13. Need for disaster risk and climate-proofing of housing and resettlement facilities.

Moreover, the IDC XI members were apprised of implementation updates on major infrastructures projects in Davao Region, to wit: the Mindanao Railway Project Tagum-Davao-Digos (MRP-TDD) Segment and the High Priority Bus System (HPBS) from the Project Management Offices (PMOs) of the Department of Transportation (DoTr), as well as, the Davao City Bypass Construction Project (DCBCP) and Samal Island-Davao Connector (SIDC) from the Department of Public Works and Highways – Unified Project Management Office (DPWH-UPMO).

The MRP-PMO reported its recent accomplishments which include the release of 1st tranche payment to the land owners in Davao City on May 23, 2022. The PMO also informed of the delay in the submission of shortlist of the Design & Build Contractors from the People’s Republic of China. With this, the negotiation for the loan agreement and the construction cannot commence. Nevertheless, DoTr shall continue to pursue its ROW acquisition activities, which is funded by the National Government, while following-through with the Chinese Embassy on the funding assistance.

On the HPBS, the PMO informed of the ongoing coordination with Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) and other utility service providers for the finalization of the Utility Relocation Plan. Posting of Bids for Contract Packages 5 and 6 of the bus fleet delivery commenced last March 31, 2022. A pre-bid conference was conducted last April 8, 2022 with 15 interested companies in attendance. On its Changes in Scope, Timeline, and Increase in Cost, DoTr is currently addressing the comments of the NEDA Board-Investment Coordination Committee (NB-ICC) Secretariat.

The DPWH-UPMO, on the other hand, updated the Committee on the DCBCP’s on-going tunnel excavation at the North and South Portals for Package I-1 with an overall accomplishment of 8.55%. There is also an ongoing review and deliberation of the Price Bid Evaluation Report (PBER) for Packages I-2 and I-3. The posting of invitation to bid for Package II-1 was conducted on April 21, 2022, while the Detailed Engineering Designs for Packages II-2 and II-3 are for final review and approval of DPWH-Bureau of Design.

On the SIDC, the Department of Finance (DOF) is completing internal approvals such as, the Central Bank of the Philippines and Department of Justice clearances. The timeline for finalizing the Framework Agreement & the Loan Agreement is set on May 31, 2022. The target for the commencement of mobilization for major civil works on January 2023 remains unchanged but contingent on the effectivity of the loan.

Moving forward, the Committee shall continue to closely monitor Davao Region’s performance under the infrastructure sector for the planning period 2017-2022, especially projects under the present Administration’s Build, Build, Build (BBB) Program.

-Emil B. Clarito, NEDA XI