Vice President Jejomar C. Binay today pressed for the adoption of a strategic urban development plan for Metro Manila, saying its absence has stunted the country’s development and has led to urban squalor in some areas.
“Perhaps we could begin replanning our cities, towns and countryside, instead of leaving everything to the real estate industry and private developers, which has been the case for years,” Binay said in a speech at the 37th Philippine Business Conference held at the Manila Hotel.
According to Binay, large tracts of government-owned land are being used for commercial and residential purposes in areas where we should more wisely be developing parks and other facilities.
Because of this, he said that there is an over concentration of high-density high-rise buildings, with no adequate provisions for water, clean air, sewerage, green or open space and road space.
“The inexplicable absence of a National Land Use and Zoning Law, and a strategic urban development plan for Metro Manila and other highly urbanized cities has stunted our country’s modernization and pushed us behind nearly all our Asian neighbors by years and years,” Binay said.
“We cannot regain our people’s pride and self-confidence unless we first get rid of the squalor around them and rebuild their physical environment,” he added.
Binay said development-oriented Local Government Units (LGUs) are looking for partners from the private sector in order to implement important projects that can be funded by the P500 billion coming from uncollected internal revenue allotments.
“I am sure they would want to invest in their own development.  This is where they could use reputable partners,” he added.
Vice President Binay also asked business leaders to join him in asking President Benigno Aquino III to consider using our large dollar reserve for development and to confine public borrowing to local sources.
He said that if the national government would utilize its large gross international reserves of $75 billion for its development projects, Private Public Partnership could open up in various areas, giving a big boost to business activity nationwide.
“This could also shift the source of public borrowing from foreign financial institutions to the central bank, which could save the government from the rise and fall of the U.S. dollar,” he added.