DAVAO CITY—About a week before he leaves this city as mayor to assume the presidency, Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte signed a P39-billion project for port and coastal development.

Giving his seal of approval to the project could be one of Duterte’s last acts as mayor of the city.

Duterte signed the agreement with Mega Harbour Port and Development (MHPD) during ceremonies here on Tuesday. MHPD president Victor Songco signed for the developer.

Last year, the city council approved the proposed reclamation project, which involves turning a total of 214 hectares along the coastline of the city between the villages of Bucana and Agdao into a world-class, well-planned, environment-friendly and self-contained community.

Under the joint venture project, none of the area’s estimated 3,500 families would be displaced.

Marcelito Manalili, of Mega Harbour, said the company would immediately start to secure permits from the Philippine Reclamation Authority, the National Economic and Development Authority and other agencies, including those that oversee environmental compliance, before starting with the project.

“This is a unique project because this will not just spur economic development but also uplift the conditions of the people living along the coastline,” Manalili said.

MHPD, in a statement, said the approval by Duterte of the project showed the incoming President “has hit the ground running” in improving the economy.

The statement said the project “is an urban renewal and poverty alleviation program” for residents of the area.

“Basic utilities and services will be put in place, main roads will be cleared and zoning will be enhanced to allow a free flow of safety and security vehicles,” said the company.

“A flood control system and other calamity mitigating measures will form part of the undertaking. Recreational, commercial and sanitation centers will be developed to ensure a holistic approach to community development,” the company said.

MPHD said it would also build a commercial business district and industrial park in the project site.

“It will host establishments that will generate employment for Davaoeños and attract investors to locate in this self-contained development,” it said.

The project, the company added, would adopt environment-friendly technologies “following the natural footprint of Davao.”

Duterte said he wanted to see tangible results within a year from the day the project started.

Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang said it would also be best to study the possibility of integrating the controversial P19-billion Sasa Port expansion project into the Mega Harbour project.

The city council has opposed the Sasa port project on several grounds, including the lack of consultation when the Department of Transportation and Communications conceived it.

“Since there is a port component in the mega harbor, why don’t we explore its integration?” said Dayanghirang. Allan Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao



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