Batangas City bags WWF’s Most Lovable City award

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star
Batangas City bags WWF�s Most Lovable City award
An April 9 file photo shows the Mother of All Asia-Tower of Peace, which serves as the highlight of the Montemaria pilgrimage site in Barangay Pagkilatan, Batangas City. The statue is expected to be completed in 2021, marking the 500th anniversary of Christianity in the Philippines. Once completed, the 96-meter statue would be the world’s tallest Virgin Mary statue
Russell Palma

MANILA, Philippines — Batangas City has been hailed as the “World’s Most Lovable City” and overall winner in this year’s edition of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)’s “We Love Cities” campaign.

The announcement was made online via Zoom recently and attended by representatives of WWF national offices around the world and We Love Cities campaign finalists, said Oliver Gonzales, environment and natural resources officer of Batangas City.

“We’re overwhelmed and happy. This challenge brought us together and made us proud as citizens of our city. We want to thank WWF-Philippines for their great support and guidance throughout this challenge,” Gonzales said.

The We Love Cities Campaign, which has empowered the general public globally with the opportunity to celebrate, vote and upgrade their city through suggestions made and addressed to decision-makers, is interwoven with the One Planet City Challenge (OPCC).

OPCC is a biennial global challenge organized by WWF to guide cities toward the most effective climate action, while publicly recognizing the most ambitious cities as leaders in the field of sustainable urban development.

Citizens from participating countries expressed their love and support for their cities with the campaign garnering over 1,170,000 votes through all channels, 4,600,000 social media engagements and a social media reach of 80 million.

Through the OPCC, the country’s declared national winner for 2020, Batangas City and national finalists Muntinlupa City and Santa Rosa City, were the representatives of the Philippines in this year’s We Love Cities campaign.

“This We Love Cities award for Batangas City is particularly special,” said lawyer Angela Ibay, WWF-Philippines’ Climate and Energy Program head. “It also highlights the active engagement that Filipinos have with their cities as they promote their solutions and aim to make their cities more livable, sustainable and resilient. It is truly aligned with WWF’s call: Together Possible.”

All the three Philippine cities ranked in the Top 10, out of 54 cities in 26 countries around the globe for the 2020 edition.

“Our three Philippine cities that participated in the We Love Cities initiative really stepped up to the plate and did quite well, even as they were addressing the current challenges brought by the pandemic. We are truly honored by their participation,” said Ibay.

“This means a lot to us, especially since we’ve been hit by the pandemic. The city is doing its best in implementing various initiatives and efforts. We have something new to hold on to, and this is great news to all of us. This win will inspire us to keep on going and to work hand-in-hand for this city,” said Gonzales.

In addition to recognizing the importance of public engagement in achieving sustainability goals, Batangas City aims to be the first carbon-neutral city in the country by 2030 and has developed a comprehensive climate mitigation and adaptation plan to realize this vision.

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