CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE, before MCDCB Meeting of 18 March 2015
“A vibrant, equitable, sustainable and competitive environment that embraces Cebu’s creativity and its culture, historical and natural resources, with strong citizen participation and responsive governance.”
Such is the declared vision of Mega Cebu in the year 2050.
The corridor from Consolacion in the north to Naga in the south, grew from 800,000 in 1980 to over 2 million in 2010, representing a growth rate of around 136 percent. The JICA Study projects Metro Cebu’s population, that is from Danao in the north down to Carcar in the south, to reach 3.8 million in 2030 and double to nearly 5 million people in 2050, from the approximate 2.5 million today.
Aside from considering how infrastructure and public services can serve this population, planning should consider how we may avoid this horrendous congestion and overloading of services and infrastructure.
How do we double the kilometer of roads, how do we double the number of classrooms, how do we double the number of hospital beds? How do we double the area available for affordable housing? How do double our supply of water which, as it is, is unable to fill up the present needs?
How do we address these inevitable problems of rapid urbanization?
The answer, I suggest, I urge, is in at the countryside.
We must plan for alternative growth centers, — away from the metropolitan area. We must avoid the so-called bedroom communities I mentioned in the last MCDCB meeting we had, where outlying towns are empty during the day while the occupants converge in the city. While Metro Cebu grew by 136 percent over a 30 year period, the southern third of the island, and the towns in the northern shores grew by a mere 66 percent. The young are leaving the rural areas, and converging and crowding here in the city.
We must get away from the concept of “urban planning” versus “rural planning.” We must plan Cebu as an entire island, and in relation to our neighbors – Bohol, Siquijor, Negros and northern Mindanao.
We must spread economic opportunities, we must extend infrastructure beyond the confines of the metropolitan area, we must enable the countryside. We must plan for the countryside, so that we may ensure the livability in the city.
Multiple links between urban and rural means success in one, equals success in the other. And failure in one, means failure in the other.
I just arrived from Sendai, Japan where participants from countries around the globe tackled the issue of climate change : Longer periods between rains, and when rain does come it becomes deluge. More frequent and more ferocious typhoons due to changes in land, sea and air temperatures.
The World Meteorological Organization warns that while global rise in sea level over the past 100 years has been approximately 19 centimeters, here in the Philippines it is 60 centimeters, that is three times the global median.
This combination of rapid urbanization and climate change can become extremely dangerous. Urban areas, with our high population density, and concentration of industries and infrastructure, are likely to face the most severe impacts of climate change.
Spreading out mitigates these dangers. Lessening congestion in the urban core by developing the countryside is DRR. It makes for an inclusive and equitable economic progress, conducted in a sustainable manner.
It is good governance.
I hope we all keep this mind.
Thank you very much.