Claim: President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, January 29, claimed Davao City has not been given any major government project and is the "very last" in his priority list.
Duterte used this claim in a speech to prove that he shows no bias for his hometown, a declaration which drew applause from his audience in Malabon City.
"Ako, ang Davao City pinakahuli. Wala kaming project hanggang ngayon because I told the planners of government, unahin muna ninyo ang iba bago ang siyudad ng Davao para walang masabi ang tao sa akin," he said at the groundbreaking of a new hospital.
(For me, Davao City goes last. We have no project until now because I told the planners of government, prioritize the others before the city of Davao so people won't have anything to say about me.)
The facts: A look at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) website and other resources online reveals that there are a number of infrastructure projects earmarked for Davao City.
Some are already being implemented and are targeted for completion before Duterte steps down from the presidency.
Take for example the P19.8-billion Davao City Coastal Road project whose implementation began in 2017, the second year of the Duterte administration. It is envisioned to connect the city's Times Beach to Sta Ana Pier.
More funding for the project, specifically its second segment, was allocated in the 2018 national budget, said DPWH Davao regional director Allan Borromeo, as quoted by state-run Philippine News Agency.
Then there's the Davao City Bypass Road, worth some P26 billion, which DPWH Region 11 (Davao) hopes will begin construction this year, according to a MindaNews article.
A description of the project on the DPWH website says this road will start from the Davao-Digos section of the Pan Philippine Highway in Toril, Davao City, and will end in the Davao-Agusan National Highway in Panabo City.
Duterte's hometown is also getting its port modernized.
The upgrading of the decades-old Sasa Port, Mindanao's major port, is set to begin in 2019 as well. The first phase of this modernization would cost around P6 billion, according to the National Economic and Development Authority.
These 3 projects, which are the nearest to implementation out of all Davao City projects, are worth roughly P52 billion in total.
They don't include other major projects envisioned for Davao City such as the Davao Public Transportation System, for which the Asian Development Bank has promised to provide a P3.6-billion loan. The project, which features a "high priority bus system," still needs NEDA approval.
Far from not being prioritized, Davao City was even among the localities set to benefit from Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit last November 2018.
He and Duterte witnessed the signing of an Implementation Agreement for a feasibility study of the proposed 23.3-kilometer Davao City Expressway Project.
Projected to cost P24.5 billion, the train system will connect the city's Sta Ana Port and the Carlos P. Garcia National Highway.
There's nothing wrong with these projects as they are intended to benefit Davaoeños and Mindanao as a whole. But it was inaccurate of the President to claim the city has no major projects to look forward to. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.