ROUGH CUTS| A City Architect’s Office? About time

WE AGREE with the idea of Architect Glory Rose Dy, United Architect of the Philippines (UAP)-Davao del Norte Chapter president, that owing to its booming economy, Davao City needs to have a City Architect’s Office. No, not necessarily a new department at City Hall; but maybe just a unit at the City Planning and Development Office.

Yes, we believe that at this point in time an office in the local government of Davao City needs to be created to oversee the aesthetic dimension of the city’s urban growth. And if the said office is to be given even more premium by putting it at the level of a department, then it must be occupied by someone who is not only an architect but a certified urban planner as well.

And we think as well that this can be done. All the City Council has to do in cooperation the Human Resource Management Office (HRMO) and the City Planning and Development Office or CPDO, is to look into the model of the inception of the Office of the Building Official (OBO) in the overall structure of the City Engineer’s Office (CEO).

Actually, there is not much that can be done in aesthetically improving Davao City’s downtown area. It has become too saturated with all sorts of buildings ranging from office, individual residential houses, business establishments, medium and high rise condos and a sputtering of blighted communities located along the coastal areas, in river banks and creek sides. And the only way this set-up can be restructured into the ideal city center is to mandate the change of the landscape.

However, this is close to impossible; unless the city government can force the informal settlers to evacuate the site of their houses that they do not own, or government can offer legitimate house and lot owners in blighted agglomerations affordable housing renovation loans.

But again, how can the city do it when it has not even made significant headways on its development plan for the wide swath of area along Quezon Blvd. leveled off by a huge fire in April of 2014?

Nonetheless, we can see the relevance of an Office of the City Architect in the planning of the development of the city’s suburban peripheries which are now the target of investors for locating their business and industrial establishments.

However, the city still needs to develop the road network that will make the uptown areas more attractive to the big-time businessmen. That is why we have been strongly advocating for the construction of a new diversion highway for the interior part of the city and a coastal road for the shoreline areas.

And should this be realized as there are plans put on the table, a city architect cum urban planner’s office becomes even relevant.

Along with this idea of Architect Dy, we also see the need for the city government to revisit the existing zoning ordinance so that the creation of a new landscape of Davao City is complemented and free of any hitches.


Shortly after Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte declared he was running for President we wrote that he chose rather the more controversial entry point. It may be recalled that the more direct reason of the mayor’s running was the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) favoring Sen. Grace Poe in a disqualification case filed against her by losing senatorial bet in the 2013 election Rizalito David. The petitioner wanted Poe unseated as senator for being a non-natural born Filipino.

 Many Duterte bashers think the mayor’s use of the SET decision as the compelling reason of his run was a flimsy one. So, they believe that the Davao City chief executive was merely playing around with the law on candidate’s substitution rule to gain media mileage even as his adversaries cannot question his sorties around the country as politicking because at that time he was not yet a candidate.

But it was not the only controversial position that presidential aspirant Duterte is taking. He has vowed to end the “contractualization” practice of business establishments in hiring workers. And he did not hesitate to mention at least two giant companies as examples.

The “provinsiyano” presidential bet made his commitment during a two-hour interview over ABS-CBN radio station dzMM  in Manila. And to think that the two large companies, retailing giant SM of billionaire Henry Sy, and Philippine Airlines (PAL) of tycoon Lucio Tan, are two potential financial backers of any presidential candidate or even all.

If Duterte makes good his promise if he wins the election, he would be up against large businesses. But there is no doubt the mayor could be popular to the working class, the much larger among classes of the Filipino society.

Another controversial pronouncement of Duterte during the same radio interview is his favoring the burial of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, and his approval to have former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to be put under house arrest.

These last two issues have become too sensitive that the other presidential aspirants would not even touch them with a ten-foot pole.

In all these, the Presidential bet from Mindanao is defying what could be major odds that aspirants in previous presidential elections and those who got elected never attempted to pursue.

And certainly the strong abhorrence of certain sectors of Philippine society on the issues herein-cited is no secret to Duterte. Hence, he knows its potential consequences.


Posted in Opinion