By Karl Aries Emerson F. Cabilao, UAP
THE dictum “No man is an island” is not just applicable to people. A city too would not be able to attain progress and livability without coordinating with neighboring cities and towns with regards to development strategies and policies.
This is exactly the main reason the Mega Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB) was formed back in 2001 through the efforts of the local governments, national agencies and private sectors. In its blog, the MCDCB is a “consortium of the province of Cebu” particularly the “13 cities and municipalities” on Cebu’s eastern side. Mega Cebu envisions a “vibrant, equitable, sustainable and competitive environment that embraces Cebu’s creativity and its cultural, historical and natural resources” through active participation of the citizens as well as good initiatives from government leaders. The year 2050 is the target for the program to achieve a livable and sustainable status for Cebu for its citizens.
However, just two months ago, Cebu City backed out of the program with the mayor citing absence of “authority” for the MCDCB to convene the concerned local government units. This created concern among Cebuanos especially urban planners since the city’s detachment from the group with take it out of the loop in the coordinated development schemes especially those related to urban planning and infrastructure development.
So, what would be the implications now that Cebu City has separated itself from the MCDCB? Today, these readers talk about the important benefits of a city’s active involvement in the activities of Mega Cebu.
“Mega Cebu is establishing a culture of collaboration and coordination among Local Government Units and the Private Sector. In the macro level of Urban and Regional Planning, collective ownership of policies, plans, programs and projects are vital in the process of development. Commitment from interested and directly affected parties is the key to inclusive growth. In the absence of a legally mandated coordinating body for Metro Cebu like that of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in Metro Manila, Mega Cebu is the interim entity that can steer holistic and sustainable development.” — Aaron Sage Caparas, government employee (Cebu Provincial Planning and Development Office/ juris doctor student (USC)
“The biggest benefit that people could get if their city is part of Mega Cebu is socio-economic boom. If there are efficiently working infrastructures, peace and order and healthy conduct of business because of cooperative efforts between cities in the metropolis, swift economic progress is attainable. This would simply mean progress that can be appreciated by everyone.” — Mark Carlo Seno, poet/artist
“Any city that gets to belong to Mega Cebu will have a better resource and support to upgrade/improve its governance, its infrastructure, its programs of governance and delivery of basic services through their citizens’ participatory approach. The sharing of technologies, ideas and solutions to the urbanization problems of these mega cities involved will foster better camaraderie between these cities towards achieving the goal of having these cities livable and sustainable for future generations.” — Marsha Amparo Presas, architect/college instructor
“I believe that the most important thing a city can benefit by being a part of Mega Cebu is its integration into the socio-economic developing platforms that global mega cities share with one another — namely competitiveness, mobility, livability and metropolitan management. By identifying ourselves better, we can properly position Cebu on a roadmap that is future-ready while still preserving our culture, history, and resources for the next generations ahead. We must always know who we are and where we firmly stand in this fast-changing world.” — Kaz Alexei Onozawa, entrepreneur