The National Economic and Development Authority Infrastructure Staff, in close collaboration with the NEDA Region VI Office, led the kick-off meeting relative to the formulation of the Comprehensive and Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Master Plans for Metro Iloilo and Metro Bacolod on March 4 at the SEDA Hotel, Iloilo City and on March 5 at the L’Fisher Hotel, Bacolod City.

The meeting served to orient local officials and concerned agencies on the scope and coverage of the masterplan, to level off with counterpart staff in NEDA, to establish the line of communication for proper coordination, and to discuss the timeline and expected outputs from the study.

RD Ro-Ann A. Bacal stressed that the outputs of the metropolitan masterplan project will enable the local governments to create an environment which is conducive for economic growth and guide the LGUs in the development of their areas in the next 20 years. She further added that it will allow the LGUs to maximize their shared potentials and services amid the challenges of fast paced urban development and migration. She highlighted that planning is needed for the smooth transition of highly urbanized cities into metropolitan centers and for the surrounding municipalities and cities to be ready to accommodate the influx of people and investments. Hence, there is a need for the support of the local governments in the formulation of the masterplans and its implementation.

Dr. Meliton B. Juanico, team leader of the consultancy group from UP Planades, presented the proposed workplan of the project including the planning areas, objectives and expected outputs, master planning process and methodology, deliverables vis-à-vis deadlines and the project team composition. He added that the masterplan will be aligned with AmBisyon Natin 2040, the Philippine Development Plan, the Western Visayas RDP 2017-2022, the Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plans of Iloilo and Negros Occidental, and the Comprehensive Land Use Plans of Iloilo City and Bacolod City, including identified neighbor municipalities that will make the metropolises.

During the open forum, the consultants were advised to look into some of Iloilo City’s plans which are underway and give recommendations as to whether these are worth pursuing or not. Real estate developers must be consulted as they play an important role in developing large-scale, mixed-use, planned communities, hence

their upcoming projects must be taken into consideration as well. Given that there will soon be local elections, the inputs of newly-elected leaders must be taken into account as well.

Jose Roni S. Peñalosa, City Planning and Development Coordinator of Iloilo City expressed their willingness to assist the technical team by providing them with the necessary data/information, existing masterplans and by participating in focus group discussions.

Other participants include the Municipalities of Oton, Pavia, San Miguel, Cabatuan and Sta. Barbara, the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Tourism, Department of Trade and Industry, the West Visayas State University and the Iloilo Science and Technology University.

Meanwhile, during the Bacolod City kick-off, Mayor Evelio R. Leonardia conveyed his support to the project and noted its alignment to his vision of establishing an institutional and legal framework for metropolitan governance within Bacolod City and its adjacent municipalities and cities. He added that it will facilitate efficient inter-local collaboration and enable local governments to maximize their shared resources for the sustainable development of the area.

Representatives of other local government units such as Bago City, Silay City, and Murcia were also present at the Bacolod City launch. National government agencies namely, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Tourism, Department of Trade and Industry, and Philippine Ports Authority were also represented, as well as, academic institutions Technological University of the Philippines and La Consolacion College-Bacolod.

The project is among the 29 metropolitan area studies concurrently being conducted to facilitate the sustainable urban infrastructure development in major growth centers in the country. The Metropolitan Iloilo Masterplan covers Iloilo City, Cabatuan, Oton, Santa Barbara, San Miguel, Leganes, and Pavia while the Metropolitan Bacolod Masterplan includes Bacolod City, Murcia, Bago City, Talisay City, and Silay City.

The formulation of the draft master plan aims to manage urbanization in Metro Iloilo and Metro Bacolod, which include an audio/video and a 3D model presentation is due for submission to NEDA on August 07, 2019. (CPGaitana/NEDA)