MINDANAO is copying the urban planning and infrastructure mistakes committed by Metro Manila in the past, Architect Jun Palafox Jr. said.

“Our roads are supposed to be connectors. Our major roads in the rest of the Philippines, in Metro Manila, their roads are major destinations, not a connection. Look at Davao, the parking is on the sidewalk. So, even the traffic lanes of the roads are part of the parking maneuvers. Elsewhere in the world, you park behind the buildings,” said Palafox, who was a guest during Wednesday’s Habi at Kape weekly press conference at Abreeza Ayala Malls.

As had been a practice in Metro Manila years before, Palafox said road widening in Mindanao always involve cutting down trees which shouldn’t be the case as a single tree supports a lot of people thru its oxygen emission and carbon dioxide emission.

During the press conference, Palafox presented to the press their firm’s different projects all over the globe with unique designs while keeping and incorporating the trees in their structures.

“We build and do more parallel roads rather than expanding the roads. No need to cut down trees,” he said.

Palafox also pointed out that some road widening done by the Department of Public Welfare and Highways (DPWH) in Mindanao involve “destroying sidewalks”, which instead of being a lane for pedestrians are then being allotted for vehicles.

He said there is only about 2 percent of the population in the country who owns their own cars, with most of these people owning multiple cars each.

“Car owners only constitute two percent of the scale but we are all 100 percent pedestrians. The moment we go out of our cars, we are already pedestrians,” Palafox said adding that he hopes and envisions that future roads in Mindanao would put priority on pedestrian sidewalks and bicycle lanes, pointing out that it is possible and can very much be done.

Palafox shared that they currently are undergoing a contract with the Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) to develop major activity centers in Mindanao but they decide to not yet divulge the areas of these centers for fear of quick and unnecessary increase of land prices near the areas.

As per his experience, these lands near areas where huge infrastructure developments are announced to be built on undergo “emotional pricing” or increase in prices just because of a future big development coming up. Palafox urged more practical economic pricing of land in Mindanao.