Cities Development Initiative Newsletter

Business leaders converge in Iloilo City to support growth of cities

The private sector has become more crucial as secondary cities evolve into engines of inclusive, environmentally sustainable, and resilient growth. Realizing the opportunity to drive local economic development, 25 business and industry leaders from the cities of Batangas, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, Puerto Princesa, Tagbilaran and Zamboanga converged in Iloilo City on June 27 to 29, 2016 to join a learning activity organized by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) Project.

The activity featured topics on trade and investment promotion, public-private partnerships, business climate improvement, city competitiveness and building a resilient economy, among others. It enabled the key leaders to identify action steps to improve their cities’ competitiveness and maximize opportunities for local economic growth.

Key business leaders share their insights during a panel discussion on trends in local and global economic development.

Iloilo City Vice Mayor Jose Espinosa III and USAID Office of Economic Development and Governance Acting Director Stephen Andoseh welcomed the participants on the first day. Vice Mayor Espinosa shared, “USAID has been helping secondary cities like Iloilo to be more progressive. There’s a resurgence of economic activity in our city and partnering with the private sector is a big part of it.”

The 6 urban areas are partner cities of USAID under its Cities Development Initiative (CDI), which promotes inclusive and sustained economic growth of secondary cities in the Philippines.

“Cities play a central role in improving the economy. We can’t grow cities without the private sector to provide investment, jobs, and revenues," said Stephen Andoseh.

The private sector representatives also had the chance to share insights on investment promotion with USAID Mission Director Dr. Susan Brems. Dr. Brems encouraged the business leaders to learn from each other’s experience and pursue opportunities for inter-city collaboration.

USAID Mission Director Dr. Susan Brems (5th from left) with key business and industry leaders from USAID's 6 Cities Development Initiative (CDI) partner cities.

USAID Mission Director visits Iloilo's mangrove areas

Meanwhile on June 30, Dr. Brems visited a Mangrove Forest along Iloilo River. The visit highlighted the partnership between USAID and the Iloilo City Government's initiatives on advancing low emission development through mangrove forest conservation. In 2015, USAID's Building Low Emission Alternatives to Develop Economic Resilience and Sustainability (B-LEADERS) Project and Iloilo City assessed the carbon stocks of mangroves in the city by determining the different types of mangroves present, and estimating the amount of above- and below-ground biomass and carbon stored in selected mangrove forests. The results of the study revealed that these forests can store more than 55,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent to taking more than 11,600 cars off the road in a year. This information will be used by the city to improve the implementation of its greenhouse gas management plan.

City environment and natural resource officers gain knowledge and skills to build urban resilience

City Environment and Natural Resource Office heads and personnel gained knowledge and skills to build urban resilience of their cities after participating in a learning activity conducted by the USAID SURGE Project on June 21 to 23 in Batangas City. Eighteen (18) CENROs from the 6 CDI cities learned from local experts current approaches in environment and natural resource management planning such as mainstreaming climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, urban environmental planning and management, low emission economic development, and environmental laws.

The sharing of replicable best practices among the cities, hands-on exercises and a study tour of Pallocan West, a flood-prone barangay in Batangas City, complemented the discussions.

The private sector and CENRO workshops are part of the SURGE Project's series of learning activities, which promote peer learning and sharing of best practices among local stakeholders.

Cagayan de Oro’s entrepreneurs learn how to utilize electronic payments in their business

More than 100 micro, small and medium enterprises in Cagayan de Oro were trained and familiarized on various options for making digital and electronic payments transactions at a Business Forum held on June 10 to 11 at the Rosario Pavilion in Cagayan de Oro City. With the theme “An Investment-Ready Cagayan de Oro through E-Payments,” the forum introduced entrepreneurs to existing digital and e-payment tools and products that can help them improve their operations and expand their businesses. The forum was organized by USAID E-PESO in partnership with Mindanao’s leading cooperative First Community Cooperative (FICCO) and the City Government of Cagayan de Oro.

USAID E-PESO set the stage by introducing the benefits and advantages of using electronic payments, as well as providing the audience with an overview of the e-payments ecosystem that it is helping to develop in their city. Speakers from the City Government and from the Department of Trade and Industry demonstrated the mobile payment options for business permits and the online application and payment process for business name registration, in addition to other services. Meanwhile, Mynt/GCash explained the convenience of mobile wallet solutions to digitize payroll and other payments, and business opportunities as an outlet/agent.

Airport and airline personnel learn about wildlife law enforcement

USAID-trained officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resource (DENR) Biodiversity Management Bureau conducted a seminar on policies governing ivory and wildlife trade on June 28 to expand the knowledge of Laguindingan International Airport personnel, commercial airlines' crew and DENR field officers on wildlife law enforcement. Laguindingan International Airport in Northern Mindanao has been identified by the DENR as a hotspot for illegal trade in wildlife, some of which come from Indonesia.

Topics discussed include the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, the National Government’s actions to curb illegal ivory and wildlife trade, and airport protocols in wildlife law.

The DENR officials who conducted the seminar are graduates of the Training of Trainers on the Application of the Wildlife Law Enforcement Manual of Operations, a product of USAID assistance in partnership with the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI). Atty. Ronely Sheen, coordinator of the USAID-DOI activity called Partnership for Biodiversity Conservation III, also served as a resource person in the seminar. DENR is rolling out this seminar in the country’s major airports and seaports.

Batangas Province launches tri-city model for Adolescent Health and Development Program

The Batangas Provincial Government launched a tri-city model for implementing the Adolescent Health and Development Program (AHDP) in late June to reach more than 150,000 adolescents and youth from the cities of Batangas, Lipa and Tanauan with improved health information and services.

Implemented by the City Health Offices of Batangas, Lipa and Tanauan, with support from the Department of Health, Department of Education, and USAID through its LuzonHealth Project, the tri-city model for AHDP will harness resources of the cities to respond to the uptrend in teenage pregnancy cases in the Batangas Province. The 3 cities account for 30 percent of the total cases of teenage pregnancies in the province.

Each city will establish teen health kiosks in public and private partner schools and universities and in rural health units, where adolescents and youth can interactively learn about adolescent health and teen pregnancy prevention. The LuzonHealth Project provides technical assistance and training to the cities and their partner schools and health facilities.

The matriarch of the Cabutija family demonstrates how she creates traditional Jama Mapun mats from dyed pandan leaves.

Palawan artisans produce export quality products

Palawan artisans are now poised to cater to international and local markets after debuting their new collections at the Manila FAME, the premier design and lifestyle event of the Philippines, in April this year. With the support of the Advancing Philippine Competitiveness Project (USAID-COMPETE), the non-food agriculture-based souvenir products of local artisans Binuatan Creations, Nitz Pearls, Bacolod Rattan, the Malampaya Multi-Purpose Cooperative, AVT Bambuhay Cooperative, as well as Wilma Cabutija and Laura Dagaraga, individual makers from the Recuerdo Cooperative, were showcased in the Palawan booth during the Manila FAME at the World Trade Center in Manila.

The cooperatives were all beneficiaries of a series of workshops seeking to upgrade the design and presentation of local products to international standards to cater to local and international tourists and tourism establishments. The training was funded by USAID-COMPETE in cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Provincial Government of Palawan.

The 5 SMEs were the finalists from about 50 different Palawan-based artisans and small-scale entrepreneurs invited to the workshops,which were facilitated by USAID-COMPETE international designer-consultants Percy Aranador and Noemi Avancena. Makers were assessed on their products and capacity to produce for the export market, after which they participated in classes on product creation, showroom design, export standards, brand creation, capacitation, development of Filipino design sensibilities, and business processes, such as costing and pricing, for export production. Basic guidelines for product creation and development, for instance, required that the makers use only indigenous materials, 95% of which needed to be agricultural or marine-based, while processes needed to be derived from local craft techniques.

The Manila FAME Palawan booth generated PhP154,141 (or US$3,425) in actual domestic orders and retail sales, as well as PhP3.1 million (or US$65,405) in potential exports, and PhP702,500 (or US$15,611) in potential domestic sales.

Mindanao Youth leaders share MYDev gains: confidence-boosting skills, positive outlook

Youth leaders in Mindanao view USAID’s Mindanao Youth for Development (MYDev) Program in many ways: the door of opportunities; light in a dark path; hope; confidence-builder; knowledge and skills enhancer; and enabler for vulnerable youth to have a voice. In a 2-day leadership training that ended on June 1, most youth leaders shared that MYDev trainings are opportunities to expand their knowledge and skills. This in turn helped them regain self-confidence and allowed them to have a positive outlook in life.

Over 40 youth leaders joined MYDev’s leadership training, 6 of whom are from Zamboanga City. These include: Rondulf Egbus, Rommel Bangcaya, Fhill-Ann-Joy Alegado, Alrashied Ismael, Carmel Ann Bello and Rosemarie Terano.

Rosemarie said the learning training helped her to be “the voice of young people who are hopeless.” She also realized that being “an out-of-school youth is not a roadblock” to contributing something to her community. For Alrashied, the training gave him a positive mindset and encouraged him to connect with other people.

Cities Development Initiative

USAID is working to strengthen the economic competitiveness and resilience of secondary cities outside of Metro Manila through its Cities Development Initiative (CDI). The CDI seeks to advance the development of secondary cities as agents of growth that is inclusive, environmentally sustainable and resilient. Depending on the most urgent needs of the city, USAID provides a range of technical assistance, drawing from resources in economic growth, health, energy, environment, governance, and education to assist the cities achieve resilience and inclusive growth.

The CDI is a crucial component of the broader Partnership for Growth (PFG), a White House initiated “whole-of-government” partnership between the U.S. Government and the Government of the Philippines. The PFG aims to shift the Philippines to a sustained and more inclusive growth trajectory on par with other high‐performing emerging economies. Currently, USAID has 6 CDI partner cities: Batangas, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, Puerto Princesa, Tagbilaran and Zamboanga.

For more information on USAID's projects in the Philippines, click here.

Contact Us

9/F Salcedo Towers
169 H.V. Dela Costa Street
Salcedo Village, Makati City
Philippines 1227
Tel. +632 88-SURGE (78743)


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