ON HIS way to Manila just recently, Roberto P. Alabado III was taken aback at the sight below as the airplane took off at the Davao City International Airport as he got a bird's-eye view of this Southern Mindanao's city of 1.4 million people.
Not that Alabado, acting coordinator of the City Planning and Development Office (DCPO), didn't know the statistics nor was he unaware that Davao City has a total land area of 244,000 has. But it was only then that he realized just how big his responsibility is as Davao's development coordinator.
"Whatever decision I make today, it will have an impact on the city in the next 10, 15 or 30 years," Alabado told Sun.Star Davao.
As CPDO head, Alabado's job is to supervise and evaluate the implementation of the different development programs and projects in Davao City in accordance with its zoning plan. With this, Alabado said he must be careful in recommending and approving projects, particularly building applications.
"I will help the mayor set the direction of the city and create a better life for the Dabawenyos. We have to provide them a better quality of life," Alabado said.
Alabado, at 39, is one of the young guns named by Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte for her team as soon as she took over City Hall as local chief executive last June. He was initially appointed CPDO officer-in-charge, but Duterte withdrew her request for the City Council to give its concurrence on his appointment after a spat between City Hall and the SP erupted over the appointment of Atty. Zuleika Lopez as City Administrator.
The Council initially discussed on the appointment of Atty. Lopez but never got to touch on that of Alabado's when the lady mayor decided to withdraw their appointments and named them acting officials instead.
This didn't bother Alabado, whose credentials, educational background and work ethic fit him for the job as city development coordinator.
Roberto "Roby" P. Alabado III is a product of the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City having graduated in BS Community Development in 1992. He then took a scholarship and was awarded a diploma as the Philippine representative for the Spatial Planning for Regions in newly Growing Economies (Spring) from 1998 to2000 in Dormund, Germany, and eventually finished MA in Regional Development Training also at UP-Diliman.
Alabado also worked as an assistant professor, consultant, researcher and a coordinator for several institutions, including that of the University of the Philippines-Mindanao. He was also a consultant of the city government and worked with then CPDO head Engr. Mario Luis Jacinto before he joined Mayor Duterte's team.
Aside from the Spring scholarship in Germany, Alabado was also cited as member of the Group Study Exchange Program in Lousiana, USA under the Rotary International Foundation from 2005-2006 and recipient of the German Academic Scholarship for Foreigners in 1999.
An articulate young city official, Alabado's organizational affiliations include Beacon Lodge No. 213 of Free and Accepted Masons, International Order of Demolay, UP Alumni Association, UP Mindanao Foundation Inc. and UP Strategic Research and Management Foundation Inc.
Alabado is a columnist of Sun.Star Davao and loves to go fishing ever since he was a boy, but admitted that his work at the executive department prevents him from doing his thing nowadays.
"My regular working hour is from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.," Alabado said in explaining how long he stays at the office each working day.
Alabado likewise confessed he feels pressure on his new job, but vowed to work religiously to realize the plans and programs of Mayor Duterte.
He said nothing will affect his work, not even the brief disagreement between Mayor Inday Sara Duterte and Vice Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte some weeks his and Atty. Lopez's appointment.
"Nothing changed. We will continue to work. We will always do our work and I will always abide by whatever her deicision is," Alabado said.
With his experience on community development when he was still with UP Alabado said he is ready to perform his function as one of the mayor's key officials.
"I will serve the people, especially the poorest of the poor," Alabado said.