AFTER losing an area from where the local government draws a significant chunk of its revenue, Makati City maintained its international composure by emerging past Taguig and stand tall as the Philippines’ sole finalist representing the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific region in the Smart City Expo World Congress to be held at the Fira de Barcelona Gran Via in Barcelona, Spain from November 19 to 21.
“Makati City is proud to have the opportunity to represent our country at a global event that features the best practices of smart cities around the world to promote the sustainable development of cities,” Mayor Abby Binay said.
Binay said the event organizers have informed her that Makati has been selected as a finalist in the Innovative Idea category of the awards.
“We have gladly accepted the invitation, and we look forward to having a meaningful exchange of ideas and experiences with fellow advocates of sustainability and inclusivity from other parts of the globe. We are also eager to explore avenues for international collaboration, particularly with cities, academic institutions and corporate leaders that share the vision of thriving, future-proof cities worldwide,” she added.
According to its website, the annual Smart City Expo World Congress, which started in 2011, is the meeting point for companies, public sector, startups, academia and citizens working together for the sustainable development of cities.
The World Smart Cities Award, which is held at the Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC), promotes innovative urban initiatives that enhance the quality of life in cities around the world.
With the theme, “Cities Made of Dreams”, this year’s congress will focus on five main tracks, namely, Digital Transformation, Urban Environment, Mobility, Governance & Finance, and Inclusive & Sharing Cities.
The annual congress, held in Spain by Fira de Barcelona since 2011, is the world's most prominent and impactful event dedicated to urban innovation, uniting global leaders, companies, academia, and citizens to tackle the world's pressing challenges.
The City Award is given to cities "for developing global strategies combining projects, initiatives and policy implementations for their citizens."
Five other finalists are Sunderland, United Kingdom; Cascais, Portugal; İzmir, Turkey; Curitiba, Brazil; and Barranquilla, Colombia.
Resilient Makati City
Sometime in October, Binay was also named as the only Filipino presenter at the International Urban Resilience Forum held in Seoul, Korea, co-hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The forum aimed to provide a venue for local government units across the globe to share their DRRM best practices. The participants included mayors, governors, executives in disaster management, professors, academics, disaster experts, and urban planning specialists.
The local chief executive presented the city’s disaster management plans and strategies focused on reducing disaster-related mortality and injuries; minimizing the number of affected people; cutting down direct disaster economic losses; and minimizing damage to infrastructure and disruption of basic services.
She also emphasized that Makati was the third in the world and the first in the Philippines to have formulated its Pre-Disaster Recovery Plan, which contains the city’s policies and activities from pre-disaster to post-disaster phases, including vital mechanisms and systems to be pre-positioned for smoother and faster recovery.
Smart Fund Utilization
To date, the city has purchased 141 DRRM vehicles to improve the response time and capabilities of police officers, firefighters, and emergency responders.
The city has also installed 136 automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in public schools and the City Hall and 307 CCTV cameras, which are being monitored by Makati C3.
Over 500 emergency go bags have been distributed to families living in the five-meter buffer zone of the West Valley Fault, while 92,802 bags and 25,466 hard hats have been distributed to public school students in the city.
The city’s DRRM Office has also trained first responders, barangay officials, and volunteers on the use of AEDs, basic life support, rapid damage assessment and needs analysis training, restricted land mobile training, and institutionalized incident command system training.
First Disaster Academy
In 2017, Makati established the country’s first DRRM Academy at the University of Makati, which aims to develop ordinary citizens into certified DRRM practitioners with the end-goal of transforming communities into highly resilient and sustainable drivers of local and national progress.
The mayor also recently bared plans to build a modern complex integrating the city's central fire station, police headquarters, rescue team and public safety department. The Makati Command Control and Communications Center (C3) will also be turned into an Internet-of-Things (IoT) platform, to be used in the development of an integrated DRR data and information management system.
To date, the city government remains well-connected to its citizens through social media and online applications, including My Makati Facebook page that currently has over 263,000 active followers.
Through the Makatizen App, the first-of-its-kind digital citizen app in the country, over 15,200 users to date can instantly report crimes, emergencies and various other concerns to the city government for appropriate response from the authorities, aside from getting regular updates on important events, programs and accomplishments of the city.
Other Ongoing Projects
The city's ongoing projects together with Packetworx Inc. include the installation of state-of-the-art smart meters aimed at optimizing energy and water consumption in public schools, noise pollution sensors to continuously monitor urban noise levels and ensure a peaceful living environment, indoor and outdoor air quality monitors to assess and manage air quality, and asset trackers utilizing advanced LoRaWAN technology to enhance resource management throughout the city.
Makati project – "Use of Technology to Improve City Disaster Preparedness and Communication to and from City Citizens,” showcased the use of Makatizen App, the country's first digital citizen app where users can report any emergency by tapping its SOS button.
Earlier this year, Makati started installing solar panels in public schools to reduce costs, energy consumption and carbon emissions. In just one school, 88 percent (3,644 kWh) of the total electricity consumption came from solar-powered energy, while the remaining 12 percent (498 kWh) were sourced from the usual electric distribution utility company.
In end-November, Binay will go to Dubai to fulfill her role as a member of the COP28 UAE Advisory Committee. She is the only mayor in the world and the sole representative from the Philippines to receive the invitation.
She is also a board member of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM) for Southeast Asia and a member of the United Nations Secretary-General's Advisory Group on Local and Regional Governments.
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