House runs out of time to approve Mega Cebu bill; 17th Congress can push it

THE good news: The House committee on government enterprises and privatization approved last Jan. 27 House Bill 6227, creating a Mega Cebu Development Authority (MCDA) co-authored by Cebu’s legislators.

The bad news: The present 16th Congress has no more time to finally pass it into law because of the election period for the May 9, 2016 election.

House Bill 6227, filed by Reps. Raul del Mar, Joseph Durano, Benhur Salimbangon, Wilfredo Caminero, Gwendolyn Garcia, Rodrigo Abellanosa, Gerard Anthony Gullas, Aileen Radaza and Luigi Quisumbing, seeks for MCDA to oversee development efforts that deal with the challenges confronting Metro Cebu.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) 7 Assistant Director Dionisio Ledres Jr. said the role of MCDA is the key in driving economic growth, generating jobs, driving trade and commerce, as well as attracting new investments.

No more time

Salimbangon said the House doesn’t have time anymore.

“It will be re-filed in the next (17th) Congress,” Salimbangon said.

Durano said he thinks there is not enough time to pass House Bill 6227 into law as it still has to go through second reading and there is no counterpart bill in the Senate.

“The advantage that it was already passed by the committee is that in the next Congress, when it is re-filed, our rules provide for an accelerated passage at the committee level if passed already by the same committee in the previous term,” Durano said.

Deliberations

During the initial deliberation, the committee, presided by Vice Chair Rep. Agapito Guanlao, approved HB 6227, “An Act Creating the Mega Cebu Development Authority, Prescribing its Powers, Functions, and Duties, Providing Funds Therefore, and for other purposes.”

Those present during the committee deliberation were Del Mar, Caminero, Ledres, representatives from the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board-Research, Program and Organizational Development (MCDCB-RPOD), and representatives from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), which was headed by Vice President Jejomar Binar for five years.

During the deliberation, the committee entertained views from the invited resource persons.

Evelyn Nacario-Castro, executive director of the Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (Rafi), said the approval of the committee is an important milestone for the bill.

“This means we are one step closer to the creation of the MCDA,” Nacario-Castro said.

The proposal is that the MCDA shall comprise “the core metropolitan areas, embracing the highly urbanized cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu; the component cities of Danao, Talisay, Naga and Carcar as well as the municipalities of Consolacion, Liloan, Compostela, Cordova, Minglanilla and San Fernando.”

Functions

The proposed MCDA functions are formulation, coordination, regulation, and monitoring of the short, medium, and long-term plans, policies and programs for the sustainable development and integration of the Metropolitan Cebu area.

These include investment programs for the delivery of multi-LGU or metropolitan side services, land use, spatial and physical development using strong, coherent governing values and shared vision, with focus on integrated systems for urban development.

At the same time, the MCDA will render services that have multi-LGU or metropolitan-wide coverage and impact, transcending local geopolitical boundaries or entailing substantial expenditures including, but not limited to the integrated and infrastructure development and planning; transport and traffic management, solid waste disposal and management; water, septage, sewerage and storm water management; and disaster risk reduction and management.
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