MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic team has laid out a development roadmap that will strengthen regional centers and see the rise of Cagayan de Oro City as the country’s fourth economic center.
Metro Cagayan de Oro will be established by 2025, joining Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao, according to a draft of the National Economic Development Authority’s Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022.
The NEDA uploaded on its website drafts of nine of the 22 chapters of the plan, and is inviting the public to submit their comments.
Duterte, the first president from Midnanao, has promised to spread government resources that have been long held in Manila to the countryside by empowering local governments under a proposed federal system of government that will replace the current centralized setup.
Cagayan de Oro is poised to become the newest “metropolitan center” due to its projected population growth, its strategic location as gateway and logistics hub for northern Mindanao and its status as an education center in the south, the NEDA said.
Dubbed the “City of Golden Friendship,” Cagayan de Oro is home to shopping malls and business process outsourcing hubs. It has a population of around 600,000, compared to 12 million in Metro Manila.
Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Metro Cagayan de Oro and Metro Davao will “serve as the economic and administrative core of the three main island groups of the country,” according to the NEDA’s draft roadmap.
The NEDA also identified “regional centers,” which will serve “administrative centers, international gateways and tourism hubs” that are closely linked to the four metropolitan centers.
These include the cities of Laoag, Tuguegarao, Tabuk, Santiago, San Fernando, Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay, Cabanatuan, Tarlac, Subic-Olongapo, Balanga, Clark, Baliuag, Malolos, Dasmarinas, Antipolo, Calamba, Batangas, Lucena, Calapan, Puerto Princesa, Legazpi, Naga, Iloilo-Pavia-Oton-Leganes-Santa Barbara-San Miguel, Bacolod, Tagbilaran, Tacloban, Ormoc, Zamboanga, General Santos, Butuan, Cotabato, Dipolog, Jolo, Surigao, Pagadian, Koronadal and Tagum.
Duterte has sustained strong economic growth in his first six months in office, with gross domestic product expanding by 7.1 percent in the third quarter of 2016.