A bill creating Mega Cebu Development Authority (MCDA) is now being finalized by the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB).
MCDCB Chair Governor Hilario P. Davide III will head the committee that will review and finalize the contents of the bill. He will be assisted by his co-chair for the private sector Roberto Aboitiz, also president of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc., and the National Economic Development Authority 7.
Davide has given the other members of the MCDCB until Sept. 23 to send their inputs on the bill as well.
The draft will be submitted to the House of Representatives through Cebu City North District Congressman Raul Del Mar in the first week of October.
“For this proposed measure, we were able to get the commitment of our congressmen nga dako kaayo ikatabang (to pass the bill into law),” Davide said.
“Naobserbahan man ninyo ug natong tanan importante nga dunay juy somebody nga dunay legal personality to formulate plans and policies for metro Cebu (You may have noticed the importance to have somebody act as legal personality to formulate plans and policies for Metro Cebu),” he added.
The first bill was filed 20 years ago. Subsequent bills were filed by different legislators but again failed to make it into law.
JICA, who formulated the Mega Cebu Road Map Study, also required MCDCB to get a legislative fiat.
Aside from Del Mar, sixth district Congressman Luigi Quisumbing and third district Congressman Samsam Gullas also expressed interest to sponsor the bill, according to Evelyn Nacario-Castro of the MCDCB’s Research, Program and Organizational Development.
In the meeting hosted by the municipality of Liloan at the Amara Subdivision last Sept. 16, she said the lawmakers asked them to also state the provisions they consider as non-negotiable.
The board voted to change the name of the body from Metro Cebu into “Mega Cebu” in the proposed bill.
On its coverage, the board agreed to stick with the 13 local government units (LGUs) originally covered by the MCDCB.
This means other LGUs outside metro Cebu will not be included in the institutionalization of the MCDCB for now.
Atty. Jose Ma. Gastardo, who was tapped to assist the drafting of the bill, reasoned the inclusion of the other LGUs would require more consultations. Hence, the board proceeded with 13 LGUs so that they can finish the draft on time.
Aboitiz also said the decision was a matter of prioritizing the critical areas.
He said what the proposed MCDA is addressing are problems common in urban
“The urbanization problems exist primarily in these 13 towns and cities. So it’s a question of prioritizing what goes first and what goes later,” he said.
On the areas of cooperation, MCDCB members also agreed to stick with the five urgent areas: water resources, septage plants and sewerage system, traffic, solid waste management system, and strengthening of MCDCB technical capacity.
The board also decided to leave the provision on the funding contributions of the LGUs to the proposed MCDA open. Consolacion Mayor Teresa Alegado said the contribution may no longer necessary in case Congress provides budget for the body.
Castro said they are getting assurance from the Cebuano lawmakers that the committee hearing will be conducted in Cebu.
Liloan Mayor Vincent “Duke” Frasco asked if the MCDA would take over the local government unit’s supervision of their own traffic personnel.
Land Transportation Office 7 Director Arnel Tancinco said Frasco’s concerns should be one of those to be delineated in the proposed bill.
Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy, who suggested to expand the areas of cooperation, stated that the draft may be developed further once the committee hearing of the bill is conducted.