Cebu City among pilot cities for ASEAN body
Jean Marvette A. Demecillo (The Freeman) - November 12, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu City has been included in the 26 pilot cities for the Asean Smart Cities Network (ASCN) that will be part of the 33rd ASEAN Summit next week.

Leaders from the 10 member-countries of ASEAN chose Cebu City along with the cities of Manila and Davao.

“The ASCN is envisioned as a collaborative platform where up to three cities from each AMS (ASEAN Member State), including capitals with room for expansion when it matures –work towards the common goal of smart and sustainable development,” a portion of the concept note of ASCN read.

The primary goal is to improve the lives of ASEAN citizens using the technology as enabler and enhance better mutual understanding across cultures.

City Administrator Nigel Paul Villarete said the city is included both in the level of challenges and in the level of preparedness.

“Cebu is enduring all the urban woes the world’s cities are facing, congestion, waste management, etc. but it has also exhibited the advances it had in the past especially with respect to Official Development Assistance (ODA),” he said.

Villarete said it was the National Economic Development Authority that suggested the inclusion of Cebu, Manila, and Davao. He said NEDA knows how Cebu City cooperated and implemented ODA projects in the past, especially those which Mayor Tomas Osmeña participated in all Investment Coordination Committee.

He said ASCN will heavily involve ODA so it’s not a surprise for Cebu City to be identified.

“Implications are, we are now part of a bigger network, the ASCN. That’s 26 cities in over a thousand ASEAN cities and we are attracting potential foreign assistance and investors as well,” he said.

Villarete said the city is also currently discussing with the UK Future Cities Programme and the French Mobilize Your City (MYC) Programme for possible collaboration.

There are private technology providers that are coming to discuss new technology and possibilities of joint ventures, he said. Villarete said the more private entities that will assist the city government, the better for the city to get the right and cost-efficient solutions to existing problems.

“The Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system is at the center of all of these. ASEAN also signed in Bangkok, the framework for sustainable urban development where the BRT plays a key role in all ASEAN member states. In fact, BRTs are being built right now in many ASEAN cities,” he said, adding that the city could have been ahead in 2008 if there were no oppositions of the project.

Villarete is hoping that the city will speed things up in the implementation of BRT which has been delayed for one to two years already. (FREEMAN)

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