By Armando B. Fenequito Jr.
DAVAO CITY – Presidential Daughter and Mayor Sara Z. Duterte has urged the Department of Finance (DOF) and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to hasten the implementation of the city’s major development projects that are still pending.
In her State of the City Address (SOCA) on Monday afternoon, Duterte particularly cited the Davao –Samal Bridge, High Priority Bus System (HPBS), and Waste to Energy Facility projects.
She explained that these big-ticket projects need national government support for their full implementation.
“Ang gusto lang nato is to solicit their support for the projects so that ma-materialize siya or masugdan siya within the next three years of administration of President Duterte (We just want to solicit support from the national government so that these projects will materialize and will be finished within the remaining three years of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration),” she said.
She said the documents for the Davao-Samal Bridge and HPBS are still in the office of NEDA while the Waste to Energy are still with the DOF.
The mayor said the HPBS cost around P13 billion, the waste to energy project needs a P1.5 billion budget while the cost for the Davao-Samal has yet to be determined since it is still on the final stage of study.
Duterte said these are urgent projects for the city, particularly the HPBS since it would address the mass transportation problems here.
She said they have evaluated the road transit rationalization in the city and developed a solution to minimize the existing 120-130 routes into 29 routes, initially recommended by the HPBS study.
“We are also planning the replacement of about 7,000 public utility jeepneys (PUJ), with more or less 1,000 buses,” she said.
She said this bus system will also introduce an automated fare collection system to the public.
“We pushed for the funding of the first stage of HPBS under the supplemental budget No. 1 of this year amounting to P100 million,” she said.
Duterte said by the first quarter of 2020, she is hoping that the operation of low floor buses in Catalunan Grande and in Diversion Road, opening a proper route for North to South commuters, will commence.
Also included in the supplemental budget, the mayor said, is the financial assistance to recompense the jeepney operators and drivers.
She said as part of the compensation, various social development programs adapted from and conducted by its partners such as the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and Commission on Higher Education, among others, will be offered.
“These are scholarships, cash for work programs, trainings, and other livelihood projects in the amount of P650 million which we were able to access through the assistance of former President and Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo,” she said.
She also said the waste to energy facility needs to be immediately implemented due to the solid waste problem in the city. The sanitary landfill has almost reached its capacity due to heavy loads of garbage dumped there every day.
“The establishment of a waste-to-energy facility is on the planning stage, with initial preparations underway in an identified area in Tugbok District,” she said.
But with the absence of the waste to energy facility, the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) is presently undertaking a rehabilitation and development of the city’s Sanitary Landfill by implementing cleaner and safer forms of disposal system.
“We have received complaints on our garbage collection and we are set to implement mitigating measures in the coming weeks,” she said.
Duterte said the city hired a collection manager to oversee the daily collection and potential problems to ensure that the collection is adjusted whenever there is an urgent need to do so.
“We have tasked all barangay captains to adjust our collection points to accommodate the garbage increase. In these collection points, we shall locate our standard collection point to infrastructure where the plastic bottles have their own cages, the sachets, wrappers, plastic bags have their own cage, the “malata” collected by a separate hauler or directed to the compost pit of the barangay or our compost machine and the “dili malata ” collected by the city to be further informally segregated before delivery to the sanitary landfill,” she said.
The mayor said Sen. Cynthia Villar expressed her interest in helping the city with this innovation of a standard collection point infrastructure and committed two compost machines for its model collection point which is at the back of the Sangguniang Panlungsod building.
“An intensified information and education campaign targeting households, offices, schools, and business establishments will be pursued to involve as many people as possible to our new system in our collection points which will also prepare everyone for the eventual operation of the waste to energy,” she said.
Duterte said the P10 billion Davao- Samal Bridge project will provide fast transport going to the Island Garden City of Samal and back to the city.
“The plans for the bridge are on the final stages and we encourage everyone to support this project and for the Sanggunian and the relevant departments of the city government to issue the necessary documents and permits, subject to thorough review,” said.