Duterte allies in Senate push creation of Davao dev't body

Published June 2, 2021, 12:27 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The Senate local government committee on Wednesday, June 2, started discussing proposals for the creation of a Metropolitan Davao Development Authority (MDDA).

Senator Francis Tolentino (Senate of the Philippines)

Similar bills were filed by administration Senators Imee Marcos, Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and Christopher “Bong” Go to establish a government body to respond and manage the growth of Davao Region.

During the committee hearing led by Senator Francis Tolentino, Marcos explained that the proposal does not veer away from the initiatives of the existing Metropolitan Davao Development Coordinating Committee, a special committee under the Regional Development Council (RDC) chaired by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

“We are all very familiar with the overwhelming growth and investment in Davao these days and also the sturdy and robust performance of its economy, registering very low inflation numbers in comparison to both Cebu and Metro Manila,” said Marcos, principal author of the measure in Senate.

Dela Rosa also touted the region’s economic growth, citing the Philippine Statistics Authority report ranking Davao Region as having the fifth highest per capita Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) and Gross Regional Domestic Expenditure (GRDE) out of the 17 regions of the country in 2020, going up from sixth place in 2019.

“This, Mr. Chair, despite the adverse economic effects brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic last year,” stressed the senator, who hails from Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.

He further said: “Time and again Mr. Chair, the effectivity of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority or MMDA as to coordination between LGUs (local government units) within Metro Manila has been proven most specially during this time of pandemic.”

Dela Rosa said the proposal “will boost our country’s economy more so strengthen the coordination among component cities and municipalities therein in the planning, implementation and monitoring of priority projects thereof.”

Go, for his part, said that “this will address the growing needs of Davao City and its other nearby cities through services…such as development planning, transport management, solid waste disposal and management, urban zoning, land use planning, shelter services, health and sanitation, as well as public safety.”

Under the bills filed by Dela Rosa and Go, the MDDA shall have jurisdiction over Davao City; the cities of Panabo, Tagum and Samal in Davao del Norte; Digos City in Davao del Sur; Mati City in Davao Oriental; and the municipalities of Sta. Cruz in Davao del Sur, Carmen in Davao del Norte, Maco in Davao de Oro and Malita in Davao Occidental.

In Marcos’ proposal, meanwhile, the body shall be led by heads of Davao City and the provinces of Davao Region.

The measures, however, maintained that the creation of the MDDA will not diminish the authority of LGUs concerning local matters and their constituents.

Tolentino said the committee will consolidate the Senate bills. The panel will resume deliberations on the proposal on June 10.

A similar House bill has been approved on third and final reading last March 25.