Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said that the city government has already taken initial steps in rehabilitating the Davao Gulf. However, she said that massive relocation of tens of thousands of informal settlers is still a long term solution, which she said “will not happen in the next two years” under her term.
The mayor’s remarks followed statements of environmental planners and advocates urging local government units (LGUs) to take steps in rehabilitating the Davao Gulf, which is feared of becoming a cesspool like Boracay Island.
In a press conference on Thursday afternoon at the City Hall of Davao, Sara said that while the Bantay Dagat program, initiated in 2017 has contributed a huge factor in ensuring the protection of marine environment, particularly the Davao Gulf, where thousands of fisher folk depend on it for livelihood, removing informal settlers nearby coastline areas is still the best solution.
Bantay Dagat is one of Mayor Sara’s banner projects, wherein the Davao Ancillary Services Unit (ASU) is the lead office overseeing the weekly coastal cleanups, with at least 290 volunteers. “If you get to see the pictures of the large volume of trash and pollutants that we were able to collect, you will see how important these coastal cleanups are,” Duterte said.
She said that the collected garbage such as empty sachets and plastic cups will be segregated and sold as raw materials for recyclable products. Last year, residents of Bucana, a community along the Davao River, were issued an ultimatum to leave and consider relocation. More than 1,000 families were affected.
Sara said that the relocation site for the affected Bucana residents, which is in Barangay Los Amigos in Tugbok District, is ready for turnover. The relocation site has a total land area of 23 hectares. The mayor said that the city government is processing papers for another relocation site in Baracatan, Toril.
“The property in Baracatan is already brought. What we are going to do now is start the processing of the papers so that we could start building the housing units,” Sara said.
Meanwhile, the mayor said that the proposed treatable sewerage plant, as part of the Infrastructure Modernization for Davao City (IM4-Davao) study of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has not yet progressed. In a previous report, JICA said that the proposed waste treatment has yet to kick off in 2025. (EDGE MIN)