Davao City needs long-term urban planning

Subscribe Now August 10, 2016 at 09:40am

LONG-TERM urban planning is needed to make sure that Davao City does not become another Metro Manila, a top real estate executive said.

Lawyer Nelson Wee Arquiza, Jr., chair of the International Relations of the Philippine Association of Real Estate Boards (Pareb) told reporters Monday during the Kapehan Sa Dabaw at the SM City-Annex that with the increasing traffic woes here.

Although relatively tolerable compared to Metro Manila, better urban plan is the answer.

“We are going to the direction where Manila is now, if remained unplanned we will most likely as saturated and congested as Manila,” he said. But he added that in general, development vis a vis population, there is still room for growth.

Also, Felino Palafox Jr., principal architect and urban planner of Palafox Associates, one of the leading architecture and urban planning firms in the country earlier said that the City has to be at par with some progressive foreign cities and countries such as Singapore, Dubai and New York.

“What are lacking here are sidewalks, bicycle lanes, pedestrians, and flood control and drainage, among others," he said.

He said that what makes other countries and cities more progressive is it implemented a very good urban planning.

“We have to integrate land use planning, transportation planning to make it progressive, it has to be integrated, coordinated, and comprehensive in area, time meaning immediate action for the plan which should not only be short term and opportunistic but also long term and visionary,” Palafox said.

When asked if Davao can still integrate a better urban plan considering the booming climate of business and influx of investments in various sectors, Palafox was quick to add that since only 10 percent is built up in the country, some 90 percent is still open.

“Even with the investments climate now in Davao, still only 10 percent has been built up and it can still be good for urban renewal development and re-planning meaning the city can still come up with better urban planning,” he said.

When Arquiza was asked about his take on the Davao City Assessor’s Office plan of reviewing the property valuation to increase and introduce new rates on real property taxes, he was quick to add that such move is but necessary.

“Maybe, there might be a difference already (real property valuation) but when you do that, of course, the government also has to study in order to make it friendly to investors,” he said adding that increasing the level of taxes competition against nearby cities will be more stiff.

“Appraisal has to be done, experts should be tapped and as a policy, government should study the implications of raising taxes as other cities are also offering tax incentives so once you make it (taxes) higher the city has to make sure that it will not force investors to go away,” Arquiza added.

He also said that development in the city has to be spread out and should not be focused in the city proper alone. “Davao City is a large city but most are crowding in the city proper that is alarming, that is the very big problem of Manila, we should not replicate that, we have to distribute the big companies, if they want to set up factories spread it out because if all in the city proper pollution will worsen,” he said.

Arquiza also said that if companies will build outside the city proper, their expenses will be costly but the land is cheap, thus, the City Government’s suggested move of coming up with a lot of incentives to encourage such direction.

Source: sunstar.com.ph

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