Philippine Vice President Hosts Cities Alliance Delegation, Welcomes Strengthened Partnership

VP Jejomar Binay welcomed ongoing Cities Alliance and World Bank support, including a CDS programme, establishment of a cities network, a national slum upgrading strategy and a Knowledge Management and Exchange System for City Managers.
One of the highlights of a recent Cities Alliance mission to the Philippines was a courtesy visit with His Excellency Jejomar C. Binay, Philippine Vice President and Chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), which represents the Republic of the Philippines on the Cities Alliance Consultative Board.
The visit took place 15 November 2011 at Coconut Palace, Vice President Binay’s official residence. The delegation included Manager William Cobbett and Chiyo Kanda, World Bank Acting Country Director for the Philippines.
They were joined by several colleagues from the World Bank Philippine country office – Mark Woodward, Sector Manager for Sustainable Development; Yan Zhang, Country Sector Coordinator; and Chris T. Pablo, Senior Urban Development Specialist – as well as Cities Alliance Communications Officer Chii Akporji.
Receiving the delegation from the Vice President’s office was Ms. Celia Alba, Senior Advisor on Housing to the Vice President and an old friend of Cities Alliance.
Vice President Binay warmly welcomed the visitors and as Chair of HUDCC he outlined the scope of the urban problems in the Philippines, the successes recorded as well as his vision for the strengthened partnership between Cities Alliance and the Philippines. He also stressed the need to prioritise a national urban development framework to manage the process of urbanisation that will empower and harness the full capacity of local governments to promote sustainable development, environmental awareness and equitable growth.

He pointed to a growing national housing backlog estimated at 3.6 million, with approximately 1 percent of GDP being appropriated for housing. He also spoke of government efforts to continually address this backlog, including the allocation of 10 billion Filipino Pesos (US $230 million) for housing in the new national budget and the ongoing legislative efforts to create a new Department of Housing and Urban Development, to be merged with HUDCC.
The Vice President welcomed the continuing Cities Alliance and World Bank support of his government’s efforts. These include the implementation of a CDS programme now completing its third phase, the enabling of the establishment of the city network League of Philippine Cities (LCP), the signing of a grant to support a National Slum Upgrading Strategy in June 2011 and, most recently, the grant support to the League of Cities of the Philippines for a Knowledge Management and Exchange System for City Managers.
In response, Mr. Cobbett lauded the Vice President’s appreciation of the partnership with Cities Alliance and its implementing partner in the country, the World Bank. He singled out the Philippines as a leader in the institutionalisation of the CDS process not only in the region but also globally. He spoke of the need to continually draw on the lessons of the Philippine experience as well as that of other middle income countries in the Cities Alliance partnership – Brazil and South Africa – for the benefit of other countries. He also stressed the need to expand the knowledge base to include learning from neighbouring countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.