The Philippines’ first Smarter City Belt Project is rising in Cagayan Valley spearheaded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
DOST Region II (DOST-RII), led by its director Engr. Sancho A. Mabborang, introduced on March 23, 2021, the first-ever Smarter City Belt Project in the Philippines as an undertaking that aims to spur economic growth in the northern region of Luzon island.
DOST says the project is expected to nurture synergies and collaborations between and among cities and municipalities, pulling their resources toward a common goal that is seen to lead to smarter outcomes.
Declaring that the engine of economic growth is innovation, the DOST explains that the project is indeed ambitious but nonetheless a very crucial move if the country is to join the ranks of other fast-developing countries towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“Achieving this would not be easy, but it is possible. If we all work together in nurturing Cagayan Valley, it is achievable to make every city in the region a smarter city,” Dir. Mabborang said during his opening remarks and presentation of the Smarter City Belt concept.
Smarter City Belt is a collaborative project that aims to make cities in the region future-ready. This can be done by using the latest technologies and innovations from DOST, the R&D outputs of the State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), and those from the Higher Education Institutes (HEIs).
Furthermore, the project will also address challenges in the region through the use of science, technology, and innovation (STI) to enhance opportunities relating to sustainable development.
During the launch, DOST Secretary Professor Fortunato T. de la Peña in his keynote speech, congratulated DOST II for its vision of creating smarter cities in Cagayan Valley and for taking the lead on this endeavor.
The science chief stressed the resonating benefits the project will give in providing more employment opportunities in the region. “May our smarter cities be for the benefit of the majority, especially our workers who help sustain Cagayan Valley. May our services and leadership be for the region and its people,” Secretary de la Peña said.
Moreover, City Mayors Jefferson P. Soriano of Tuguegarao and Joseph Tan of Santiago presented their Smart City solutions, plans, and initiatives in implementing the said project. They also expressed their gratitude to the DOST and other partner agencies for their support to achieve the Smarter City goals and objectives.
As the prime model of Smarter City in the Philippines, Mayor Bernard Dy of Cauayan City, Isabela also presented their experiences and journey as well as their accomplishments since they initially implemented the Smarter City project.
“We are on the right track to improve the life of our citizens. Smarter City is a lifestyle of the cities as well as the citizens,” Mayor Dy said.
DOST II awarded PHP 1 million to the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Tuguegarao City as its “seed” fund for the implementation of the project, especially for its Smarter Health initiatives. A Memorandum of Agreement was signed between DOST, Cagayan State University, and the University of Saint Louis Tuguegarao to seal the partnership.
The Smarter City Belt Project in Region II is composed of Cauayan City in Isabela, the first smarter city in the region together with three other chartered cities in the region, namely: Tuguegarao City in Cagayan, Santiago City, and Ilagan City in Isabela, and emerging growth centers in the towns of Bayombong and Solano in Nueva Vizcaya, Maddela, Cabarroguis and Diffun in Quirino, Lallo, and Sta. Ana in Cagayan, and Basco in Batanes Islands.
Other stakeholders who are giving their full support to this project are the following: DOST- Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development Executive Director, Dr. Enrico Paringit, who vowed continued support for the Smarter City Belt project; Chairperson of the Smarter Cities Network, Singapore, Kok-chin Tay, 4th District Representative of Isabela, Alyssa Sheena Tan, and 3rd District Representative of Cagayan, Joseph Lara.
The presidents of the SUCs and HEIs in the region were also putting their stake in the project by giving their undivided support.
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