8 new growth areas identified


    Eight provinces have been identified as new growth areas.

    These are Quezon, Leyte, Zamboanga del Sur, Camarines Sur, Isabela, South Cotabato, Misamis Oriental and Negros Oriental. They join Cebu, Cavite, Bulacan, Negros Occidental, Laguna, Pangasinan, Rizal, Davao del Sur, Batangas, Pampanga, Iloilo and Nueva Ecija – all previously identified as growth areas in many development plans.

    The top 20 growth area provinces were identified using nine drivers of urban growth, Carmeli Chavez, assistant professor of the University of the Philippines School of Urban and Regional Planning (UP SURP), said yesterday.

    UP SURP’s research arm, the Planning and Development Research Foundation or PLANADES, identified the 20 provinces based on Internal Revenue Allotment; average family income; government expenditure; resilience to flood hazards; presence of economic zones; proximity to airport and seaport; groundwater allocation; proximity to road networks; and with areas outside protected parks that are suitable for development.

    “We hope that the drivers of urban growth will help local governments manage urban growth,” said Chavez, the PLANADES Project leader.

    The growth areas were identified in a PLANADES modeling project supported by the Department of Science and Technology and its Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD).

    The modeling project was created to highlight settlements development in new growth areas and to estimate the corresponding housing requirements in these areas.

    PLANADES generated four outputs: a settlement development model for new growth areas; an estimation of projected housing requirements in these areas; adoption of a model by a pilot local government in its land use and development plan; and a training module which was launched yesterday in a virtual forum attended by mayors and governors.

    “We hope… local urban planners can maximize the use of the DOST PLANADES Settlement Model so we can have a data-driven, science-backed development in the regions,” said Science Secretary Fortunato Dela Pena.
    He said the model will identify

    future growth areas within regions and provinces; provide a methodology to estimate future housing supply and need; identify the location of the housing projects and their costs; and serve as a tool to simulate future urban expansion and land uses at the local government level.

    “It can be integrated in the local planning process to guide spatial and development strategies and investment programming,” Dela Pena said.

    With the guidance of the National Economic and Development Authority, the model can be scaled up to the level of the administrative region, he added.

    The top 20 provinces can attract migrants by building upon their “pull factors” or determinants of urban growth.

    Government expenditure can be increased to develop and sustain these pull factors.

    Countryside development can develop incentives for potential investors, including micro, small and medium enterprises. The incentives can be integrated with local revenue and investment codes.

    Growth areas need to be connected and made accessible by quality roads, airports and seaports, Dela Pena said.

    “With the COVID-19 pandemic, it is strongly recommended that a national telecommunications plan be crafted and implemented to support the economic activities of cities, specially under the Balik Probinsya Program and enhance Internet connectivity of schools to facilitate learning,” he said.

    “We hope to inspire urban planners to use this time to think ahead and craft the ways forward as we continue to battle COVID-19,” he added.

    “We believe that through the application of this model with the use of data and technology, the culture of planning will be nurtured among every Filipino,” said Dr. Enrico Parangit, PCIEERD executive director.