Davao beams with pride for the many successes that the city achieved with good governance – peace and order, thriving businesses, economic growth, advance infrastructures, modern facilities, and the list goes on. Davao has been the meat of headlines and business sections in leading news dailies from mainstream media to small discussion groups across all social platforms reporting inspiring stories of success and progress. Davao is the lighthouse of hope; and for thousands of hopeful migrants and investors, there is a city that brings promise to a bright future.
The economic growth of Davao region reached 9.4 percent in 2014 with a forecast to peak at 9 percent again this year. This fast economic growth doubled the population in the region reaching nearly a million additional inhabitants since 2000. Therefore, emerged a thick trail of shantytowns illegally occupying state lands and they are difficult to displace, by political and practical terms. Where it needs to build new port, new business district, condos and housing, there are homes illegally built among the original town and around the harbor. According to Bloomberg, “Davao has become a victim of its own success, and an archetype of modern urbanization in developing countries, where inward migration is outstripping governments’ ability to supply infrastructure and services.”
Head of the Davao City Investment Promotion Center, Ivan Cortez understands the need to rationalize urban development. “The reclamation will answer that question,” he said. The plan for Davao region is to expand into the seas building four islands located off the coast of Davao Gulf costing $825 million. Originally designed in 1937, the islands project to hold 50,000 population. Each island stretches approximately 50 hectares (124 acres). Mega Harbour Development Corp., the sole bidder for the project will handle the plan for the islands that expands Davao’s land area to build new port, government offices, business district and new community where high-end shopping malls and upmarket condos will stand. Davao has transitioned from an agrarian society to a highly urbanized economy at a speed that swept Asia in less than 50 years.