The Manila-based urban planning firm Palafox Associates has been tapped to craft the Metro Davao Urban Master Plan, a project that is based on the best practices in the world and lessons from the worst practices in Metro Manila.
Architect Felino “ Jun” Palafox, Jr., president and founder of the architectural firm named after him, said the Metro Davao Urban Master Plan is part of Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework Plan, prepared by the Mindanao Development Authority and other key stakeholders.
He said that the project aims to provide a comprehensive development plan for Metro Davao, which will include the towns of Maco, Carmen and Sta. Cruz in Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur, respectively as well as the cities of Tagum , Panabo, Davao and Digos.
It is expected to be completed in six to eight months.
“This is the first time that there is a comprehensive plan about Metro Davao,” Palafox, Jr. told the Habi at Kape media forum on Wednesday.
He added that the Mindanao Peace Development Framework Plan envisions a sustainably improved quality of life for all Mindanawons characterized by peace, economic dynamism, meaningful autonomy, and ecological integrity.
“The plan pushes for an integrated planning approach that seeks to maximize the comparative advantages of the different areas of Minadanao with the goal of ensuring that growth is shared by all,” he said.
He added that the objectives of the plan include identifying the comparative strengths and functional roles of the different areas within Metro Davao with the end-goal of complementation and alignment of policies, programs and projects; identifying solutions to shared challenges, including transport efficiency, provision of urban services, among others; aiding national agencies, local government units, and the private sector in planning and implementing development endeavors within Metro Davao and its influence areas.
“I see Mindanao and Davao with the highest development potential in the country. I want to help make them the front door or gateway to the Philippines,” Palafox said as he described his vision for Metro Davao.
He said the rapid increase in population and the accelerating urbanization not only of Davao City but the neighboring cities of Tagum, Digos. Panabo, and ICAGOS brings urgency for comprehensive and integrated planning of transport, logistics, services and institution across these areas.
“To cope with the rapid urbanization of Metro Davao and adequately prepare for future developments in light of the increased interest in Davao and Mindanao,” Palafox said.
Palafox added he believes in the potential of Davao Region and vowed that Davao could have a master plan that would be a model for the rest of the world.
Palafox also mentioned the consideration of mistakes in the development plan of congested Manila that needs “heart transplant” due to lack of open spaces.
“The major activity centers like central business districts or downtowns are the heart of the city, and the arteries are the waterways and the roads and the parks and open spaces are the lungs of the city. So Metro Manila is dying. It needs a heart transplant, a heart bypass, and a lung transfer. Its arteries are full of cholesterol that causes traffic congestion,” he said.
Palafox added that he has high hopes for Metro Davao and still much room left for improvement for Davao that is “10 times the size of Manila and 9 times the size of Singapore,” citing his experiences in working with major urban centers in the world.