Regional Updates (03/21/21)

Davao City planning office proposes to increase green space requirement

DAVAO City’s planning office is proposing to increase the green space requirement for residential developments to 15% from the current 10% in line with the local climate change action program. “In our proposal for the land use plan, what will happen, there will be a remaining 55% sellable area for the developers. So our subdivisions are not so hot because there are these trees around,” Davao City Planning and Development Office head Ivan Chin Cortez said in an interview. The proposal is part of the city’s Local Climate Change Action Plan 2019-2023, which was approved through Ordinance No. 0475-21 on Feb. 2, 2021. Mr. Cortez said the goal of the five-year plan is to pursue and secure the city’s development gains and sustainability efforts by building disaster resilient, climate change adaptive communities. “We have painstakingly computed where the carbon emissions are coming from, and how through policy directions we can reduce our footprint without halting our journey towards development,” he said. “As much as we will protect our remaining forest from encroachment, we will also move forward to more green space initiatives in our urban areas,” Mr. Cortez said. The updated land use plan will also declare no-build areas that will serve as urban ecological enhancement sub-zones as well as roll out more greening initiatives such as reforestation and mangrove area restoration. — Maya M. Padillo

Lopez energy company joins initiative to make Ormoc a model city on disaster management

LOPEZ-led Energy Development Corp. (EDC) has joined an initiative that will help strengthen Ormoc City’s disaster management program and position it as a model for preparedness and resilience. In a press release on Saturday, EDC said that it has inked a memorandum of agreement with the city government, the National Resilience Council (NRC), and the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation through its Adopt-a-City program. Under the agreement, the four parties will work together to help Ormoc “become the country’s model city for resilience and disaster preparedness.” EDC President and Chief Operating Officer Richard B. Tantoco said some of the upcoming activities in Ormoc include the formation of a multi-sectoral forest protection task force, creation of 10 pilot barangay emergency response teams, and the rollout of a city-wide disaster risk preparedness and response information campaign. Mr. Tantoco also offered to expand EDC’s role in disaster management in the province of Leyte. Ormoc is an independent city from Leyte. EDC runs the 588.4-megawatt (MW) Unified Leyte plants in Kananga town and the 123 MW-Tongonan plant in Ormoc.

“We’d like our geothermal facilities in Leyte to be the most robust power facility in the country so two to three days after a major disaster, the Ormocanons will look up and see that there’s light and know that they can begin rebuilding their lives,” Mr. Tantoco said. Ormoc City Mayor Richard I. Gomez thanked EDC, NRC and the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation for the partnership. “Ormoc is vulnerable to natural disasters, that’s why planning and foresight are very important, and partnerships like this are vital to us. Through this Adopt-a-City program, I know that we will achieve stronger resilience, reduce deaths, and increase development in our city,” Mr. Gomez said. The flash flood in Ormoc in 1991, following the onslaught of tropical storm Uring, with international name Thelma, is considered one of the deadliest disasters in the country’s history with about 8,000 killed, including those whose bodies were never recovered. EDC, a subsidiary of the First Gen Corp., has a 1,200-MW total installed geothermal capacity, which accounts for 62% of the country’s generated renewable energy. — Angelica Y. Yang

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