By Maya M. Padillo, Correspondent
DAVAO CITY — The city government said it will facilitate talks between landowners and developers to establish an economic zone to attract more foreign investors, the development of which is on the wish list of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII).
Councilor Danilo C. Dayanghirang, speaking at a media forum, said city officials may act as facilitators to guide the process along.
“There are issues of ownership and rights. If a party does not want a joint venture participation agreement then we cannot force them. As far as the city is concerned, we can facilitate,” said Mr. Dayanghirang, who chairs the city council committee on finance, ways and means, and appropriations.
DCCCII President Arturo M. Milan, at the same forum, said the business chamber is trying to convince two landowners with property located in the 2nd District, near the city’s airport and seaport, to agree to a joint venture arrangement.
Mr. Milan said major developers have expressed interest in the project, which would be the city’s first industrial ecozone.
“There are landowners and there are also prospective developers, but because of the high value of raw land in the city now, developers no longer want to buy land because it will take up all their capital. What they want is a joint venture. They will develop the zone and the participation of the landowners will be their equity in the corporation,” he said in English and Filipino.
The DCCCII President said the city will become more competitive with an ecozone.
“We are competing with Cagayan de Oro, Cebu and Calabarzon. Here, we don’t have an ecozone to offer,” he said.
Mr. Dayanghirang said one possible solution is to adjust zoning ordinances to reclassify some remote areas for industrial use.
He added, “In the Mandug area there is this Special Area Development Plan, which has been granted by the city and that is why the Lorenzos are allowed to put industrial activities there even if it is an agricultural area. And in Tigatto, there is a massive development there by the Alcantaras going to Cabantian.”
Another option for the city given the limited contiguous space available is to link up with neighboring provinces, the councilor said.
“The approach should be via a Davao Gulf Development Area,” he said, making development more comprehensive.
“Whether we like it or not, we cannot stop here in Davao… We need to look at the entire Region 11 as one of the key result areas for development,” he said.