Network of roads and bridges mapped to connect Davao’s eight hot spots

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DAVAO CITY — An initial urban master plan for Davao will involve the establishment of eight circumferential transport and development corridors, complete with key infrastructure facilities, that will help the region achieve its maximum potential as a growth area.

The company of urban planner Felino Palafox, Jr., Palafox Associates is set to unveil full details of the so-called Metro Davao Urban Master Plan within the next two months, but during his visit to the city last week, he said the corridors will become anchor of developments in the eight local government units that are part of the master plan.

Based on briefing materials provided journalists, the master plan “will cover the linear cluster of urban areas along the physical backbone of the Pan-Philippine Highway from the City of Digos to the Municipality of Maco traversing thru the Municipality of Sta. Cruz, Davao City, Island Garden City of Samal, Panabo City, Municipality of Carmen and Tagum City.”

“While the Master Plan will essentially focus on the urban areas along the transport backbone, it is expected that the study will also take into account the land use and the socioeconomic activities of the rural and sub-urban components of the municipalities and cities that compose Metro Davao, as well as the other areas around the Davao Gulf from Don Marcelino in Davao Occidental to San Isidro in Davao Oriental, especially as to how these impact and/or feed into the urban dynamics,” it added.

The development will transform neighborhoods into one that is “inclusive, smarter, more walkable, more bikable, more livable, mixed-income” with areas devoted for worships.

The region “must not commit the same mistakes that Metro Manila committed,” Mr. Palafox said as he likened the cities in the Philippines to the heart of a person whose veins and arteries are clogged because of development.

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) tapped the company — whose business spans architecture, urban planning, town planning, site planning, engineering, development consultancy and environmental design — for the master plan.

Asked about the cost of the proposed master plan, Mr. Palafox said the contract he has with the MinDA does not include the detailed engineering of the project.

He said local legislators must be able to come up with a comprehensive land use and planning to ensure that the master plan is implemented as designed.

Mr. Palafox also proposed building a bridge between the Island Garden City and this city although this component was not included in the master plan.

Inspired by the Philippine Eagle, the proposed bridge will give those who cross it a good view of Mt. Apo, the Philippines’ highest mountain.

The national government set aside P25 million for the urban master plan whose goal, MinDA Secretary Abul Khayr D. Alonto said, is to produce a “collective vision for Metro Davao.” — Carmelito Q. Francisco