Bill creating Metropolitan Davao Development Authority gets final Senate nod

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 17) — A measure seeking the establishment of a special body to promote the socioeconomic growth and development of the Davao Region has received final approval from the Senate.

Senators on Monday unanimously approved on third reading House Bill 8930 which mandates the creation of the Metropolitan Davao Development Authority or MDDA.

Once established, the MDDA will have jurisdiction over Davao City; the cities of Panabo and Tagum and the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte; Digos City in Davao del Sur; and Mati City in Davao Oriental.

The municipalities of Sta. Cruz, Hagonoy, Padada, Malalag, and Sulop in Davao del Sur; Carmen in Davao del Norte; Maco in Davao de Oro; and Malita and Sta. Maria in Davao Occidental will likewise be covered.

Under HB 8930, the duties of the MDDA shall include development planning; transport management; solid waste disposal and management, flood control and sewerage management, urban renewal, and zoning; land use planning and shelter services; health and sanitation, urban protection, and pollution control; and public safety.

Senator Francis Tolentino, who sponsored the bill, said the agency will help "institutionalize the rapid urbanization of Davao through strategic and viable reforms, primarily towards regional cooperation and economic growth."

"By agglomerating major cities and municipalities of the region, [the] MDDA will further liberalize local government units within its jurisdiction... and promote a sustained and all-inclusive decentralization," Tolentino, who leads the Committee on Local Government, said.

The Metropolitan Davao Development Council shall serve as the governing board and policy-making body. It will be composed of the chairperson of the Davao Region, and governors and mayors of the respective provinces and cities.

The council chairperson, who will render a term of three years, shall be appointed by the sitting president.

HB 8930 also seeks the creation of the Metropolitan Davao Police District, which will exercise operational control over all local police offices in areas within the jurisdiction of the MDDA.

Sen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, a co-sponsor of the bill, said with the development, "I am confident that the proper coordination in the delivery of metro-wide services will economically benefit the people of the largest metropolitan area in the southern part of the Philippines."

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Senators Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go and Joel Villanueva, also co-sponsored the measure.

The House of Representatives approved its version of the bill on final reading on March 25 last year.