Congestion in the existing commercial center of the city provided the push for the creation of a new commercial business district composed of three major activities: construction of an alternative 3.1 kilometer road from airport to the old commercial district with two perpendicular sections; construction of a market complex with bus, jeepney and tricycle terminals; and privatization of the administration of the public market. The two sections of the road opened 400 hectares of hitherto inaccessible land to commercial, residential and selected industrial activities. The entire program costs P80 million with 62 percent financed from local sources and 38 percent from a USAID grant.
The city succeeded in eliciting the support of the community for the construction of the roads. Around 81 percent of the landowners donated the land and only 17 percent had to be purchased. Only one piece of land was expropriated. The airport road construction increased the market value of the lands thereby increasing property tax revenues in 1996 by 39 percent. Collection last January, 1997 was on the uptrend surpassing last year's level by 40 percent, The privatization of the market inculcated in the minds of the people the value that the government cannot forever be subsidizing services and that they have to pay an appropriate price for the use of public goods. With the privatization, the city government received P2.5 million from the rental payment of the winning bidder and generated savings from salaries and operating expenses. The city government hopes to recover their investment in 8 years. The new business district has also spawned development in the rural parts of the city.
This program is recognized as a Trailblazing Program, a finalist for the 1997 Galing Pook Awards.