By Carmelito Q. Francisco, Correspondent

Davao regional council proposes P106.4-billion outlay for next year

Posted on March 10, 2016

DAVAO CITY -- The Davao Regional Development Council (RDC) has proposed a P106.43-billion budget for 2017 to bankroll the programs and projects of national government agencies in the region, including government-owned and -controlled corporations and state academic institutions.

Water mainline extension and improvement program undertaken by the Davao City Water District --
In a report released by the regional office of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the agency said next year’s proposed fund is “10% higher compared to what was endorsed by the council in fiscal year 2016.”

NEDA Regional Director Maria Lourdes D. Lim said in the report that the budget is aligned with the priority programs identified in the Davao Regional Development Plan 2014-2016.

Ms. Lim said the RDC has institutionalized the budget preparation and review to strengthen the “link across development planning, investment programming and budgeting processes.”

The biggest portion of the fund at P52 billion is intended for the social development sector, while P44 billion is for infrastructure development and P5.9 billion for economic and development administration.

“(The) Department of Public Works and Highways (Region 11) has the biggest investment with P42 billion, followed by the Department of Education with P40.7 billion,” according to the report.

The funding for gender and development, youth development, senior citizens, persons with disabilities and indigenous peoples, climate change, peace-related activities and bottom-up budgeting is integrated into the proposal.

Ms. Lim previously said the region needs five key infrastructure projects to serve “as crucial support to the industry and services sectors.”

These are: P40.57-billion modernization of the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City, P18.9-billion Sasa seaport modernization project, Tagum City bulk water facility, P10-billion Tamugan surface water facility in Davao City, and the P16.8-billion Davao City bypass road project.

The airport and the seaport are lined up under the government’s public-private partnership program while the two water projects are already contracted to Manila Water Co., Inc. for Tagum and the Aboitiz-led Apo Aqua Infrastructura, Inc. in Davao City. The bypass road is proposed for implementation through a loan from the Japanese government.

The Davao Region is composed of Davao City and the provinces of Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, and the new Davao Occidental, which will elect its first set of local government officials in the May 9 elections.