THE NATIONAL Economic and Development Authoritys (NEDA) Davao region office and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have sealed a partnership for drawing up a masterplan for Metro Davao, an envisioned metropolitan area that will cover six cities and nine towns.  

NEDA 11 expresses gratitude to the government of Japan and the leadership of the JICA-Tokyo Headquarters and the mission team, for approving the technical cooperation project to formulate a Comprehensive and Sustainable Urban Master Plan for Metropolitan Davao,NEDA Regional Director Maria Lourdes D. Lim said during Fridays signing ceremony.   

Ms. Lim said the plan will integrate fundamentals of smart citiesand with a focus on transport development to ensure mobility.   

The Metro Davao area is not contiguous, with several commercial and political centers included that are not adjacent to Davao City, which serves as the regions hub.   

Metropolitan Davao includes the cities of Panabo, Tagum, and the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte; Digos City in Davao del Sur; Mati City in Davao Oriental; and 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.  

Ms. Lim said the plan also involves the expansion of Metro Davao into a Comprehensive Outcomes for Rural Empowerment (C.O.R.E.) Growth Triangle, giving attention to the growth centers along the Davao Gulf and the metro area.   

Under this arrangement, collaboration among the local government units should be convergent and sustainable, as the implementation of priority programs and projects at the local level is most crucial,she said.  

Drafting of the masterplan is set for 2023-2024. It will serve as the main reference document of the Metropolitan Davao Development Authority (MDDA) once organized.   

The creation of Metro Davao and MDDA is contained in Republic Act 11708, which was signed into law in April.  

Shigehiko Sugita, JICA director for Urban and Regional Development Group, Infrastructure Management Department, said the agency is committed to completing the masterplan, which will guide not just the MDDA but also NEDA and the local governments.   

The masterplan will have a short-term program that will cover the period 2025-2029, mid-term ending in 2035, and long-term for up to 2045.   

It will be aligned with existing public plans such as the Davao Region Physical Development Framework 2015-2045, Mindanao Spatial Strategy/Development Framework 2015-2045, and the comprehensive land use plans of the local governments. Maya M. Padillo