Bacolod was recently chosen by the World Bank (WB) as a pilot city for its Green and Resilient Development program.
This is a technical assistance program geared towards strengthening the competitive capabilities of cities as part of the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Program, a press release from the Bacolod Public Information Office said today, November 9.
Undersecretary for Local Government Marivel Sacendoncillo of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), informed Leonardia of the selection of Bacolod for this World Bank grant.
She said the technical assistance, which builds on the 2017 World Bank’s Philippines Urbanization Review, intends to provide best practices options and recommendations for strategic urban planning in select secondary cities in the Philippines, and to guide them in pursuing sustainable and inclusive growth.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia, in response, said “We always welcome development assistance from international institutions. In the midst of this pandemic, such an assistance become even more significant and valuable. We look forward to a fruitful partnership with the World Bank on this venture.”
The WB chose the Philippine pilot cities in partnership with the Department of Finance, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and the League of Cities of the Philippines.
The WB will assist selected cities in determining their main economic development drivers and to identify the opportunities and challenges to position their cities relative to such potential economic development drivers, the press release said.
The WB will also help pilot cities assess the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and find ways to build the enabling environment for investments, it said.
Leonardia said he intends to tap private business sector leaders to participate in these strategic planning exercises once the WB team, led by Sustainable Development leader Madhu Raghunah, arrives in the city.
These plans are expected to link development strategies with physical/spatial plans and public finance given the COVID-19 conditions. The technical assistance will also incorporate green design principles, and work towards a metropolitan approach to development, he said.*