Press Release
January 17, 2022


Mr. President, my esteemed colleagues in the Senate, my sincerest gratitude extends to all of you for passing on Third Reading House Bill No. 8930, entitled "An Act Creating the Metropolitan Davao Development Authority (MDDA), defining its Powers and Functions, and Providing Funds Therefor," with amendments, under Committee Report No. 293 and taking into consideration Senate Bill Nos. 2116, 2153, and 2157.

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. 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.

My dear colleagues, I cannot further stress the importance of urban agglomeration, especially during this time of global public health crisis. The concept of urban agglomeration dates back to the 19th century when it was introduced by a British urban scholar and pioneer of modern urban planning Ebenezer Howard in his book Garden Cities of Tomorrow. This concept deviated from the popular focus directed merely on cities while shifting the spatial organization and structure to include surrounding or peripheral areas. At present, it remains a central theory in urban studies and regional development analysis.

In The Metropolitan Revolution, Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley, a metropolitan area or metropolitan region is defined as "typically a collection of municipalities that together form a unified labor market and is often defined statistically by the commuting patterns of its residents between home and work." Katz and Bradley further characterized cities and metros as being empowered by economic strength and driven by demographic dynamism, consequently, "positioning themselves at the cutting edge of reform, investment, and innovation."

As we continue to implement post pandemic recovery efforts in the country, we are witnessing that 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. 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.

I would like to commend the co-sponsors of this measure Senators Imee Marcos, Bato Dela Rosa, and Bong Go for filing Senate Bill Nos. 2116, 2153, and 2157, respectively. Also, to our Majority Leader Migz Zubiri and Senator Joel Villanueva for likewise manifesting their intent to co-sponsor the same.

Gratitude must also be expressed to our diligent counterparts in the House of Representatives, Representatives Ungab, Gonzaga, and Zamora, among others, for ensuring the swift passage of House Bill No. 8930.

Finally, commendation is extended to our resource persons, the Mayors of the Metro Davao LGUs, particularly Davao City Mayor Sara "Inday" Duterte and Tagum City Mayor Allan L. Rellon; the Regional Development Council (RDC) XI of the Metro Davao Development Coordinating Committee; and the NEDA Regional Office XI for attending committee hearings and providing the necessary data to defend the measure before this august chamber.

In closing, I would like to emphasize what Katz and Bradley have observed - "that tectonic plates of power and responsibility are shifting with cities and metros taking control of their own destinies and becoming deliberate on their economic growth." It is high time that we, too, adopt the same strategy by enacting legislative measures that will achieve a shared and lasting prosperity at the local level.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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