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Palafox tasked to create Metro Davao master plan.

By Antonio L. Colina IV

Davao City - World-renowned urban planner Arch. Felino "Jun" Palafox will sit at the helm of the Metro Davao Urban Master Plan, a project that he said will be drafted based on the best practices in the world, and lessons from the worst practices in Metro Manila.

Palafox, during the project's first consultation meeting at the SMX Convention Center Monday, said he envisioned Metro Davao to be "polycentric," with its business centers not focused in just one area, to prevent congestion similar to the situation in Metro Manila.

The urban master plan will cover the linear cluster of urban areas along the physical backbone of the Pan-Philippine Highway from the Digos City to the Maco in Compostela Valley passing through Sta. Cruz in Davao del Sur, Davao City, Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS), Panabo City, Carmen and Tagum City.

Palafox said they will consolidate ideas from the different local governments involved regarding what immediate actions with respect to the problems that may arise from development and the corresponding solutions.

"So we are asking everybody, 'if you were the planner, what's the number 1 problem or challenge and what's the solution? This is democracy in practice, democracy in action," he said.

Palafox, who was part of the team who created the Dubai's urban plan in the 1970's, added the project will be a model not just for the Philippines but for the rest of the world.

"Here, everybody has the opportunity to dream of Davao - 1,000 years from now, 500 years from now, 100 years from now, 50years from now, 25 years from now, and five years from now," he added.

The 67-year-old urban planner said the outcome of this Metro Davao master plan will be the result of his extensive experience of doing urban plan in 39 countries in the world.

Palafox added he believes in the potential of Davao Region, most especially Davao Gulf which is closer in proximity to Celebes Sea, a known major shipping route that connects South China Sea and Pacific Ocean.

"Especially if there area issues about South China Sea, many navigators now - big shipping lines - are thinking of Celebes Sea. The location of Davao and Davao Gulf is like a welcome arms. It's like a gateway, it's really a Puerto," he said

Palafox said the growth of the region must be managed well because 80 percent of the population wants to reside in the urban centers.

"By 2050, there will be 50 million more Filipinos, 80 percent of them will want to go to cities, so Mindanao gets absorbed most of these, so we can master plan new cities that will be models for the rest of the world," he added.

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Title Annotation:Mindanao
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Nov 21, 2017
Words:455
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