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.
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.
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..
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.
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.
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!
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.
What is a ” Smart” City?
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 :
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mabuhay ang Visayas now on the road to recovering, rebuilding and rehabilitating!
the manila times