(Davao City, 16 November 2021). The Infrastructure Development Committee (IDC) XI convened, through video conferencing, for its 4th Quarter CY 2021 Regular Meeting on 16 November 2021.

In his opening message, IDC XI Chairperson and RDC XI Private Sector Representative (PSR) Mr. Arturo M. Milan reminded everyone not to be complacent despite the continuous decline of COVID-19 daily cases at the national and regional levels. He emphasized the need to continue to strictly observe the minimum public health standards, as the Region is still on its way to achieving population protection in terms of vaccination.

The Committee reviewed and endorsed the Proposed Integrated Flood Resilience and Adaptation (InFRA I) Project of the DPWH-Unified Project Management Office (DWPH-UPMO) to the Regional Development Council (RDC) XI. The evaluation of the Committee focused only on the Tagum-Libuganon River Basin component of the Project, which is the River Basin located within the Davao Region. Among the Committee’s recommendations were for the proponent to secure endorsement from the Local Development Council or Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the concerned local government units, specifically Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro which shall provide evidence that local stakeholders have been consulted, as well as ensure the sustainability and local support of the Project.

The Caraga RDC Resolution No. 57, Series of 2021 “Endorsing to the Office of the President the Proposed Amendments to Executive Order. 325, series of 1996 “Reorganization of the Regional Development Councils” was also discussed. Said resolution intends to introduce amendments to EO 325 to strengthen the RDC to be able to respond to emerging development challenges in the regions, and to rationalize the structure and operations of the RDC to take into account new developments. The Committee’s comments and recommendations shall be submitted to RDC XI for deliberation

The Davao Region CY 2023 Annual Investment Program for the Infrastructure Sector was also endorsed to the RDC XI with some Programs, Activities, and Projects (PAPs) identified in Executive Order No. 138, series of 2021 devolved to the Local Government Units (LGUs). The total amount programmed under the FY 2023 AIP for Davao Region under the infrastructure sector is Php 142.271 Billion.

The Philippine Water Supply and Sanitation Master Plan (PWSSMP) which serves as the national action plan to achieve universal access to safe, sufficient, affordable, and sustainable water supply, hygiene, and sanitation by 2030 was also discussed during the meeting. Said Master Plan was launched on September 16, 2021. The Committee endorsed the said Master Plan including the Davao Region Data Book and Regional Roadmap to the RDC XI, for the Region’s adoption.

In view of the increasing frequency of flooding incidents in Davao City, the Department of Public Works and Highways- Unified Project Management Office (DPWH-UPMO) was requested to present updates on the ongoing Master Plan and Feasibility Study on Flood Control and Drainage in Davao City. The Committee enjoined DPWH-UPMO and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to consider accelerating the completion of the said project by the 1st or 2nd Quarter of CY 2022.

Moreover, the IDC XI members were apprised of implementation updates on major infrastructures projects in Davao Region, to wit: the Mindanao Railway Project (MRP) Tagum-Davao-Digos Segment and the High Priority Bus System (HPBS) from the Project Management Offices (PMOs) of the Department of Transportation (DoTr), as well as, the Davao City Bypass Construction Project (DCBCP) and Samal Island-Davao Connector (SIDC) from the DPWH-UPMO.

The MRP-PMO informed that the Project Management Consultancy contract signing event was successfully conducted on October 20, 2021. The Department reaffirmed their commitment for the Project’s partial operation from Tagum City to the Municipality of Carmen in Davao del Norte by March 2022.

The HPBS-PMO informed on its recent activities on the distribution of livelihood kits for families affected by the launching of Interim Bus System (IBS). They likewise informed the Committee of the proposed increase in scope and cost of the Project. As this shall require an RDC XI endorsement, the HPBS-PMO was requested to submit NEDA-ICC Project Evaluations Forms, as well as, the endorsements from the concerned LGUs.

The DPWH-UPMO, on the other hand, provided updates on the Davao City Bypass Construction Project that the tunnel boring machines are already at the project site and that tunnel boring activities are ready to start by November 19, 2021. They also informed that Packages I-2 and I-3 were advertised last July 30, 2021 with the deadline of submission of bids on November 16, 2021.

On the SIDC, the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) is expected to send the draft Framework Agreement (FA) very soon. This a prerequisite to the loan agreement which is to be signed by both governments. Mobilization for major civil works is still targeted by May of 2022, contingent on the effectivity of the loan.  

Finally, the Committee approved the Region’s infrastructure sector performance for the 3rd Quarter CY 2021 through the Results Matrices (RM) Progress Report on the Achievement of Outcomes for Chapter 12: Building Safe and Secure Communities and Chapter 19: Accelerating Infrastructure Development. The Committee endorsed to RDC XI, its recommendations to improve the Region’s performance, which are mostly affected by COVID-19 related restrictions, which include devising new and innovative ways to effectively implement these targets under the New Normal. – Emil B. Clarito, NEDA XI