More growth and development are expected, not just in Davao City but also in other parts of the Davao Region through the Metropolitan Davao Development Authority (MDDA), according to MDDA Bill principal author Cong. Isidro T. Ungab of Davao City’s third district.

Cong. Ungab, during the Madayaw Davao program of the 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR) aired on Monday, May 2, 2022, said, “Hopefully, kini ang maghimo sa development planning sa atong lugar, additional development agency nga mu-assist sa atong national nga panggamhanan in coordination sa efforts of local government units (Hopefully, the MDDA will do the development planning for our region, an additional development agency that would assist our national government in coordination with the efforts of the local government units).”

He said that while serving as chairman of the Committee on Appropriations of the Lower House, he noticed that only four regions usually get a huge chunk of the budget from the national government. These are the National Capital Region (NCR), Region 3, Calabarzon, and Bicol. Regions in the Visayas and Mindanao receive smaller budgets.

The huge budget that the top four regions, especially NCR, usually get, according to him, is attributed to the fact that most of the head offices of government agencies and private companies are in Metro Manila.

The Metro Manila Development Authority also receives a big budget for infrastructure, public health, beautification, and tourism, among other programs, estimated at P15 billion. This made development “over-centralized” in Metro Manila.

During his three-year break after serving three straight terms as third district representative, Ungab said he conducted research and found out that the Philippine Constitution provides that cities, provinces, and municipalities can group themselves to make a metropolitan development area.

So when Ungab returned as a congressman in 2019, the creation of the MDDA was his main goal and he manifested this during his proclamation speech. He talked with the leaders of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago led by Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte, the Regional Development Council chaired by Davao de Oro Governor Tyron Uy, and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Region 11 Director Lourdes Lim who helped him draft House Bill 8930: “An Act Creating the Metropolitan Davao Development Authority (MDDA), Defining Its Powers and Functions, and Providing Funds Therefor.”

Cong. Ungab filed House Bill 8930 on March 8, 2021, presented it, and sponsored it during the plenary session on March 16, 2021, then it was approved at the Lower House on March 25, 2021. The Senate approved the bill on January 17, 2022, and President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed it into law as Republic Act No. 11708, creating the MDDA, on April 13, 2022. The MDDA is the first regional development authority outside Metro Manila.

“Nalipay ta, pasalamat ta kay Presidente Duterte ug gani nagapasalamat pud ko sa tanang nakatabang nga mapasa kini nga balaudnon kay I would consider this as a landmark legislation not only for Davao City but also for the entire region. Nagpasalamat ta sa mga congressmen na nagco-author, sa mga senador na naningkamot pud na mapasa kini ug hilabi na ang pagpirma ni President Duterte, nahimo na gyud ning balaud (We’re happy, thankful to President Duterte and thankful to those who helped pass the bill as I would consider this as a landmark legislation, not just for Davao City but also for the entire region. I thank the representatives who co-authored, the senators who made it possible to pass this, and of course President Duterte, it has finally become a law),” Cong. Ungab said.

He said the MDDA shall consist of 16 LGUs including Davao City, Carmen, Panabo City, Tagum City, Maco, Mati City, Sta. Cruz, Digos City, Bansalan, Malita, and the Island Garden City of Samal, among others.

The MDDA’s scope and services include development planning; transport management; solid waste disposal and management; flood control and sewerage management; urban renewal, zoning, land use planning, and shelter services; review and recommend to the MDD Council policies regarding development permits; monitor the implementation of metropolitan-wide programs and projects and identify implementation issues and appropriate solutions; install and administer a single ticketing system, fix, impose, and collect fines and penalties for violations, and confiscate and suspend or revoke driver’s licenses in the enforcement of such traffic laws and regulations; prescribe and collect services and regulatory fees; fix the compensation of the officers and personnel of the MDDA, and perform other functions consistent with the Metropolitan Davao Development Authority Act.

Within the MDDA, he said, there will be a planning division that would create feasibility studies and project proposals, and coordinate with local, national, and international organizations for development concerns.

The MDDA will not only be made up of mayors and governors but also NEDA, the RDC, and other national government agencies.

Cong. Ungab said that Senator Francis Tolentino, former MMDA chairman, added inputs to the bill that he authored, improving it based on the weaknesses of the MMDA while Senator Ronald dela Rosa also gave his recommendations on MDDA’s public safety scope. CIO