6 Mahipus

Councilor Diosdado Mahipus during the regular session of the City Council on February 23, 2016. (Ace R. Morandante/davaotoday.com)

DAVAO CITY— Why is Councilor Diosdado Mahipus proposing to amend a city ordinance that removes the green space requirement for development projects when such move has been vetoed by the mayor in February?

This was the question thrown by environmental group Green Davao Coalition after Mahipus re-filed the resolution amending the green space provision of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan on Tuesday, March 8.

“It only shows that he did not really understand that open space as mandated by law is different from green space. Open space and green space serve different purposes and both are needed for a quality of life of the people particularly those in urban areas,” said Mary Ann Fuertes, member of the Green Davao Coalition and executive director of lobby group Interface Development Interventions (IDIS).

Proponent absent during session

Mahipus was not present during Tuesday’s regular session at the city council. But interestingly, his proposed resolution was carried by the legislative body through Councilor Bernard Al-ag.

In his resolution, Mahipus proposed the following:

“Section 13. Green Space. For land Development Projects within the City of Davao which are of socio-economic and environmental significance and/or of national interest with a project area of at least one hectare and above, the proponent shall develop within its allotted open space, set back areas of home lots or sidewalk strips based on PD 957 or BP 220 design standards, green spaces to be planted with trees and ornamental plants and/or to be developed for water pond purposes.”

Simply put, Mahipus is proposing that instead of requiring developers of allotting a 10 percent green space, they would only need to plant trees and plants within open spaces, something environmental groups don’t agree.

Councilors vowed not to override veto

This proposal was embodied in a recently passed ordinance, but was eventually junked by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterteon February 19, saying it was “vague and ambiguous, prejudicial to the public interest and an exercise of legislative power in ultra vires.”

With Mahipus reviving the amendment  —  despite councilors already vowing not to override the mayor’s decision — groups doubt his intentions.

“Why the rush? It was already vetoed and many have expressed opposition against it. Di talaga namin maintindihan bakit talaga ipilit tanggalin (We don’t get why they want to deliberately remove it),” said Fuertes.

Chinkie Peliño, advocacy coordinator at IDIS, said she was not expecting Mahipus to file a new resolution.

“Who is he representing? The subdivision developers or the people?” she said. (davaotoday.com)

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