The Senate on Monday approved a proposed measure that seeks to create the Metropolitan Davao Development Authority (MDDA).
With 23 affirmative votes and no negations, senators passed on third and final reading House Bill (HB) 8930 which authorizes the establishment of a body that will coordinate and promote socio-economic growth and sustainable development in the region.
Senator Francis “Tol” Tolentino, the sponsor of the measure, lauded its passage.
“The establishment of the MDDA will institutionalize the rapid urbanization in the Davao Region through strategic and viable reforms directed primarily towards regional cooperation and economic growth,” Tolentino said in his speech.
“By agglomerating the major cities and municipalities in the region, the MDDA will further liberalize local government units within its jurisdiction from their dependence upon the national government and promote a sustained and all-inclusive decentralization in the region,” he said.
The lawmaker further noted that the “agglomeration” of the cities in the Davao region was emphasized by the coronavirus pandemic where “critical decisions such as vaccine distribution, curfew implementation, and community quarantine measures are made not by each local government unit but in unison through metropolitan councils or regions.”
“The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to fore urban pandemic resilience and encouraged economic cooperation and interlinked health strategies among neighboring local government units,” he said.
“Moreover, the uniform decision-making made by metropolitan councils makes more sense given the geographical contiguity of local government units and the state of urban mobility in the country,” he added.
Upon its establishment, the MDDA will be mandated to formulate plans aligned to the Davao Region Development Plan and Philippine Development Plan 2017 to 2022.
It will also set and implement policies related to traffic, waste management, and public safety and security for Metro Davao and coordinate, regulate, and enforce the implementation of these programs and projects with concerned national governments.
The House of Representatives passed on third and final reading a similar measure in March.