PUBLIC and private sector leaders of Cagayan de Oro City committed to help drive the city’s inclusive and resilient economic growth as they joined the Stakeholders’ Forum on March 11 at Rosario Pavilion, organized by the U.S. Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for International Development (USAid).
The Stakeholders Forum, a multi-sectoral mix of national agency, local government, business, and civil society leaders from Cagayan de Oro City, will serve as a mechanism to identify, prioritize and lead the implementation of USAid’s Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (Surge) Project.
USAid Philippines Economic Growth Specialist John Avila and Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno, together with more than 100 representatives from the city government, business sector, academe and civil society organizations participated in the forum.
The result of the Surge rapid assessment and opportunities for the development of the city were tackled, as well as current and future scenarios to give context in identifying strategic development goals the city can pursue in the next five to fifteen years.
The city government’s electronic Building Permit Management System (e-BPMS) was also launched during the forum. The e-BPMS aims to streamline and automate the tedious construction permitting process which involves 32 steps, taking as long as 90 days to complete a major bottleneck in starting a business in the city.
The e-BPMS features a digital blueprint and signature, a checklist generator, and a randomizer. Now just 12 steps which can be completed in about 5 days, the system is accessible online through the city’s official website. It was developed by the city in partnership with the Mindanao University of Science and Technology, with support from the USAid/Invest Project.
The Surge Project builds on milestones achieved by other USAid projects and supports second-tier cities like Cagayan de Oro City to become economically thriving and resilient growth centers outside the urban core of Manila, with increased levels of investment, employment, and disaster risk preparedness for both the city and adjacent rural areas.
Now on its first year, the project will assist the city in improving urban development and planning, promoting low-emission local economic development, facilitating greater connectivity and access between urban and rural areas, and promoting social inclusion.
Surge is the flagship activity of USAid’s Cities Development Initiative, an integral part of the US-Philippines’ Partnership for Growth where Cagayan de Oro is one of its current 6 cities.
The International City/County Management Association (ICMA), a global organization composed of almost 9,000 city, town and county managers who work to professionalize local government management around the world, is the main implementing partner for Surge. pr