The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Office XI, headed by Regional Director Maria Lourdes D. Lim met with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) – Philippines Chief Representative Azukizawa Eigo together with Senior Representatives, Kuronuma Kenji and Ebisawa Yo and other staff from the JICA Philippine Office and JICA Headquarters Office in Tokyo through virtual platform on July 21, 2021. Also in attendance were Davao City Planning and Development Coordinator, Engr. Ivan C. Cortez and Ms. Gina Santos from the Davao City Planning and Development Office.

The meeting was conducted to discuss the status of implementation of the projects included in the Davao City Infrastructure Development Plan and Capacity Building Project or the IM4Davao, and the planned expansion of JICA’s assistance to cover the Metropolitan Davao area through the formulation of a Comprehensive and Sustainable Urban Development Master Plan for Metropolitan Davao, as well as, on the Formulation of the Metropolitan Davao Sewerage and Septage Master Plan.

The institutionalization of Metropolitan Davao was recently initiated through the approval of House Bill 8930, “An Act Creating the Metropolitan Davao Development Authority, Defining its Powers and Functions, and Providing Funds Therefor”, authored by the Davao City 3rd District Congressional Representative Isidro T. Ungab, during the Third and Final Reading at the plenary session of the House of Representatives (HOR) on March 25, 2021. On June 10, 2021, the Senate Committee on Local Government approved on its first reading, the Senate Bill Nos. 2153, 2157, 2116 filed by Senator Ronald dela Rosa, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go, and Senator Imee Marcos, respectively, and House Bill 8930 on the MDDA. Said Bills shall be consolidated by the Joint Senate Committees and shall be submitted to the Senate Plenary for further deliberation. The creation of the Metropolitan Davao is in line with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP), 2017-2022 with its National Spatial Strategy (NSS) as well as with the Davao Region Spatial Development Framework (DRSDF), 2015-2045 and the Mindanao Spatial Strategy/Development Framework (DRSDF), 2015-2045.

During the talk between the NEDA Regional Office XI and JICA Philippines, the representatives from JICA Philippines found the formulation of the proposed Metro Davao Master Plan as timely with the reported progress on the institutionalization of the MDDA at the Senate Committee level. Further, the current and projected urbanization of Local Government Units included in the Metropolitan Davao prompted such Master Plan proposal. As the proposed Master Plan aims to expand on the IM4Davao Study, the progress in the implementation of projects outlined in the IM4Davao presented by the NEDA Regional Office XI were appreciated by the representatives from JICA.

The Comprehensive and Sustainable Urban Development Master Plan for Metropolitan Davao shall cover land use planning, agri-ecotourism and urban greening, Davao Gulf coastal resource management, and joint delivery of urban facilities and services (transport and traffic; housing; solid waste and wastewater, digital connectivity, water, energy, public security, disaster risk reduction – flood control).

Moreover, the feasibility of the Metropolitan Davao Sewerage and Septage Master Plan and the completion of the pre-Feasibility Study for the Davao City Sewage Treatment projects highlighted in the IM4Davao were also discussed. The completion of the said pre-Feasibility Study will lead to the development of a full blown Feasibility Study or Master Plan for sewerage development in Davao City and the rest of the Metro Davao LGUs.

-Francesca Dianne B. Solis, Sr. EDS, NRO XI