Survival and Smart City Recovery

Surviving seems to be the theme of our November- December tragic events. I for one, just survived  a heart attack,  with serious complications of a Lupus Flare, endangering my   kidneys, together  with many others medical concerns.

When it comes to health and wellness, one can say, that, “I have been there, and done that”. From a medical point of view, I have been in the arena of surviving. I can, in all humility and thanks to GOD, claim that I did receive a shower of blessings and special graces because of Divine Mercy  and the tender Filial Love of God.

I am ever most grateful to all who “stormed” Heaven for my recovery. It was  through the countless prayers by all my dear friends, that I have “survived this and survive that” and here I am “bouncing back” to recovery.

So I thought of writing an important theme about our nation’s Survival, the need to recover. The Visayas Region has suffered so much from natural disasters. And, I am disgusted, by man-made tragedies, inflicting more harm to the people, who have gone through so much pain, loss that words can not express. To add more “vindictive’  political discord is uncalled for.  The Visayas region, will now need to face serious social, civic and economic dysfunction. With  major financial losses, one needs to move on, to begin again from scratch. The critical situation calls for a holistic, well planned and focused  approach to survival and recovery.

Areas affected by Yolanda Storm Surge. source: abscbnnews

The unique but devastating “counter-clockwise” storm surge Yolanda international name “Haiyan”, destroying everything in its path – Tacloban, Leyte, Samar, Cebu and the rest of the Visayas region estimated height of 17 feet or 5.2 meters of water wiped out the whole cities..
source: abscbnnews

We are much aware of the “nightmare” images that we have seen. The horrors, death and devastation of Leyte, Samar, Tacloban, Bohol, Cebu and other regions in the Visayas.

As of this date, the Philippine government is still at a slow-pace in rehabilitating Tacloban, Leyte, Samar and the rest of the Visayas region affected by the storm surge Yolanda. Dead bodies are still emerging from the mud-filled land while people are just starting to get the proper relief despite the pouring of aid from generous nations, friends and the international community.

The United Nations joined forces in their medical, food and shelter aid for Yolanda victims, We shall always be greatful and appreciative to the compassion extended by these nations.

The United Nations joined forces in their medical, food and shelter aid for Yolanda victims,
We shall always be greatful and appreciative to the compassion extended by these nations.

It’s been a month now, and the Philippine government is still undecided to use a budget of P40 billion funds for rehab of Yolanda victims. Nevertheless, if such plan pushes through, combining it  with the total donations of at least  P3.8 billion would that amount  be enough for the recovery, reconstruction and revitalization of the Visayas? No, I don’ t think so..

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To resolve the issue, President Aquino, appointed former Senator and former PNP Chief of Staff, Gen. Panfilo Lacson as the “Yolanda Rehab Czar. Senator Larson immediately vowed to work and in doing so he said, “The important word for me is doable. It is a huge challenge but when you see the destruction even on television, you will feel disheartened and a desire to help,”  He, however, stressed that he would rather have the private sector play a key role in the rebuilding efforts.

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Senator Panfilo Lacson with internationally renowned city planner and architect Jun Palafox and Real Estate expert Danilo Antonio “hit the road running” and extend their commitment to help directly the revitalization of Tacloban and the Visayas Region. Senator Lacson, the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery is calling for the bayanihan spirit as the key in rebuilding areas in the Visayas region ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda.

We take this opportunity to start planning and working towards building “New Smart Cities”. Now is the time to Master Plan and Implement a smart city project for Tacloban, Leyte, Bohol and Cebu. Since they are going to start from scratch then might as well do it in the  best, most modern and with the future in mind. A model metropolis at par with the Best International Cities.

In solidarity, Former President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada extend true support for LGUs. ERAP's concern comes from a heart of compassion empathy and action.. "No politics, just plain and simple generous help"

In solidarity, national and local leaders such as Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senator Bongbong Marcos, Congressman Manny Pacquiao, Senator Dick Gordon and the Philippine Red Cross with Former President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada extended their true and hands-on support. Their concern comes from a heart of compassion, empathy and getting things done for recovery.. “No politics, just plain and simple generous help”

However, i find our national government not determined in their rehabilitation efforts because there are some other areas that was devastated in the Visayas region that are still neglected. There seem to be other “priorities” ; more profitable perhaps? To illustrate, the blatant lack of priorities such as the The Philippine Reclamation Authority, with the approval of the City  Government and the blessings of DENR awarded SM Group to reclaim part of Manila BAy the estimated cost of this project P54.5 billion which is much more then the funds allocated for the restoration of Tacloban City, clearly there is something wrong with the priorities of these government agencies and a private conglomerate who should instead help out in the Visayas Region. Instead of expanding their land holdings in the Manila Bay area, our nation is suffering from tragic calamities, there is a need for reconstruction not reclamation!

I believe, hope and pray  that we will see the success of the "Lacson Master Rehabilitation Plan". Yes, with the top leaders of the private sector we are confident that the rebuilding efforts will generate fruits, growth and development of a rich region of natural resources. The Visayas region has so  much potential  and most important of all, its people..this is a human force, motivated, resilient and strong!

I believe, hope and pray that we will see the success of the “Lacson Master Rehabilitation Plan”. Yes, with the top leaders of the private sector we are confident that the rebuilding efforts will generate fruits, growth and development of a rich region of natural resources. The Visayas region has so much potential and most important of all, its people..this is a human force, motivated, resilient and strong!

In the article From the Distance, posted by Carmen N. Pedrosa of the Daily Star, she gave a blow-by-blow account of Garret Salvacion’s 6-days of hell from Leyte to Manila.  In the true story, Salvacion said the the government did nothing to help him or any of the Yolanda victim.

(http://m.philstar.com/314192/show/e2e8f3d33f147c79d96a428b33c10297/?)

What is a ” Smart”  City?

Board Member Mr. Ramom CF Cuervo III of Professional Regulation Commission for Real Estate Service Attending a 2 day 2013 International Conference on Smarter Cities November 14 - 15, 2013

Professional Regulation Commission for Real Estate Service, Board Member Mr. Ramon CF Cuervo III, Attends a Two Day International Conference on ” PLANNING SMARTER CITIES TOWARDS A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE “

A city can be defined as ‘smart’ when investments in human and social capital and traditional (transport) and modern (ICT) communication infrastructure fuel sustainable economic development and a high quality of life, with a wise management of natural resources, through participatory action and engagement.  (Caragliu et al. 2009).

To Hermenegildo Seisdedos, the smart city concept essentially means efficiency but based on the intelligent management and integrated ICTs, and active citizen participation. He Then implies a new kind of governance, genuine citizen involvement in public policy.

Why smart cities?

Cities all over the world face the challenge of combining competitiveness and sustainable urban development simultaneously, against the background of economic and technological changes caused by the globalization and the integration process and this challenge is likely to have an impact on issues of Urban Quality such as housing, economy, culture, social and environmental conditions.

Model for a Smart City

Basically , a smart city should contain the following key elements, namely :

  • Economy
  • Mobility
  • Environment
  • People
  • Living
  • Governance
Basic Smart City Model
Basic Smart City Model

Amsterdam Smart City, Dubai Internet City, City of Edinburgh Council, Smart City Málaga,Malta SmartCity Business park, SmartSantander,Yokohama Smart City, Verona Smart City are just among several countries which  follows and uses Smart City Models, wherein ICT (Information and Communication Technology) is used as the main ingredient.

A Detailed SMART City Model
A Detailed SMART City Model

However, Songdo International Business District (SIBD) Songdo Smart City Project and the Masdar Cty of Abu Dhabi Smart Project is leading the way when it comes to the “complete” smart city concept.

Songdo as a Whole
Songdo as a whole city

The Songdo IBD was part of former President Lee Myung-bak’s effort to promote green and low-carbon growth as an avenue for future development.  It will cost  Korea $35 billion dollar and It was started in 2001. The project, despite delays, is expected to be completed by 2014 and will be able to have accommodate 65,000 residents.  It  became  very expensive because it was build from scratched, with 610 hectares of reclaimed land along the waterfront.

The Smart City in a Desert Land
The Smart City in a Desert Land

We, in the Philippines, particularly in the Reconstruction of the Visayas Region, must adapt to local conditions, use indigenous products, materials and innovative  Technology in creating our own Filipino Smart City.

Advantages in creating a smart City for the Visayas Region.

1.  It can be develop into a central business and port city hub bigger than that of Imperial Manila;

2.  The Visayas Region composed of several islands has rich natural resources and can be develop without reclaiming land;

3.  Development Projects with detailed master plan of best land use can transform these Visayas Islands to a new smart metropolis;

4.  With a strong will power and determination of the people of Visayas we are assured that they shall recover, restore and revitalize their cities ;

5.  The Visayas Region also rich in agricultural and marine resources can produce enough food for self suficiency and sustainability.

Director Mylene A. Rivera discussing about "Need for national key urban management reforms and capacity strengthening" and "Need to climate-proof existing guides to development plans". Beside her sitting are Philippine Regulation Board - Real Estate Service Board Member Ramon CF Cuervo III and NREA Vice Chairlady Marissa Del Mar

Director Mylene A. Rivera discussing about “Need for national key urban management reforms and capacity strengthening” and “Need to climate-proof existing guides to development plans”. Beside her sitting are Philippine Regulation Board – Real Estate Service Board Member Ramon CF Cuervo III and NREA Vice Chairlady Marissa Del Mar

As as consultant,  I would like to make the following suggestions.

1. There is a need to Analyze, Study and Innovate Smart Cities, adaptable to Philippine conditions using Indigenous materials and products.

2. We need to put a stop to using and/or abusing political powers, that will only divide the efforts needed to build, restore and revitalize the reconstruction of the Visayas.

3. Capitalize on the Integrity, Independence and Managerial Leadership of the Private Sector. These are the  Experts and are Best in Planning, Implementing and Developing Cities, and we can be assured that they are serious to see the the restoration,  rehabilitation and revitalization of the Visayas will be a success.

I wish to add, that we need to go beyond “smart” and I wish to propose our Five plus one ‘ S’ for our New Smart Cities, namely;

1) Social Services – That the LGU provide Education, Livelihood projects, Health Care,  Housing, and Social Welfare

2) Safety and Security – Implement Law and Order, Protection of private property, and Care for the needy.

3) Sustainability – Work on a Strong Economic Base. Provide Jobs and Employment.  Maintenance of our Ecological and biological systems. Protecting mangroves, forests and wetlands and marine life. To nurture the environment, that will help in the Agricultural productivity of the Region. These are the “three pillars” of sustainability or the 3 Es. Economy, Ecology and Environment.

4) Self Supporting – To develop local products, produce, talent and skills. The people of the Visayas are very talented, creative and well educated. All they need is to be given the opportunity to be self-supporting via Micro-Finance and Entrepreneurship.

5) Solidarity –  Compendium 192 highlights in a particular way the intrinsic nature of the human person the equality of all in dignity and rights and the common path of individuals and peoples towards an ever more committed unity. This is our “BAYANIHAN” Filipino Spirit. It was what build our nation, and it is what will build the New Smart Cities of the Visayas.

The Plus one factor: the Smile! Yes, we have seen that cheerful smile, unique, full of optimism and a cheerful attitude that will turn the tragic events and crisis into opportunities. The Filipino Smile is but a reflection of inner strength, resiliency and self – confidence.

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Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez takes time in cheering up children and victims suffering with his noble cheerful and brave heart being a true leader and courageous patriot.

These are the basic foundations for building new stable cities. The Visayas has Survived, the Region will be Restored, and together with the Private Sector Leaders, and in Solidarity with the Local Government Units they shall Reconstruct, Build and Revitalize New Smart Cities.

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5 Responses to Survival and Smart City Recovery

  1. Got to be independent on creating Smart Cities and if it could get support from foreign help better. Do not expect help from the Govt. Self sustaining citywill work in Tacloban and it will grow again. From the ashes of its disaster Tacloban will grow flowers of success. I wish you all the best. Regret to be so far away and not help but with my ideas, I know I could do something good. Wish you all the best.
    Fér.

  2. YOLANDA A. ASUNCION says:

    I AGREE WITH YOU ONE HUNDRED PER CENT, LET US RECOVER THE EASTERN VISAYAS RATHER THAN THE RECLAIMED AREAS…. UNBELIEVABLE… I AM LEARNING MORE THINGS. MR. CUERVO, WE MET AT THE PASAY MAKATI REALTORS BOARD, YOU WERE A GUEST SPEAKER. I ALSO HAVE SOME POINTERS HOW TO HELP THE PHILIPPINES TO BE COME A BETTER PHILIPPINES, AND HELP OUR DYING NATION. I WONDER IF I CAN GET YOUR EMAIL SIR.
    MERRY CHRISTMAS. GOD BLESS US ALL AND MABUHAY TAYONG LAHAT… BLESSED YEARS AHEAD. YOLANDA A. ASUNCION

  3. I would like to take this opportunity to start planning and working towards building “New Smart Cities”. Since it is the time to start a Master Plan and Implement a smart city project for Tacloban, Leyte, Bohol, Cavite, Baguio and Cebu. Since they are going to start from scratch then might as well do it in the best, most modern and with the future in mind. A model metropolis at par with the Best International Cities. I can help with planning “New Smart Cities” specially if it could be a self sustaining one. I know of someone here in La Rioja Spain who mentioned to contribute ( Name withheld ) but wants someone to be on top of it. Person wants to help families that will work on a project to be able to self sustain them. This person is very interested to contribute several millions of pesos. If this reaches to my brother Ramón ( El Grande ) to please get in touch with us via e-mail. By the way, this person is not going to make any money out of this. It is some thing that he wants to see it happen. It comes from his heart. Wants me to look for something like this.
    Looking forward to a speedy reply.

    Fernándo Rafael C. F´dez-Cuervo.
    Logroño, La Rioja.
    e-mail
    🙂

  4. From the asses of disaster, we will grow the roses of success. Mabuhay to all.
    Fér

  5. Sorry I mean from the Ashes of Disaster, we will grow the Roses of success. Mabuhay to all.
    Fér

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