Congratulations Silay!

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By Ver F. Pacete

As I See It

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


WE ARE happy for Silay City. It qualifies to participate as one of the 8 pilot cities in the Philippines in the program ‘Achieving Sustainable Urban Development’ (ASUD) under UN Habitat for a Better Urban Future. The other cities are Tuguegarao, Olongapo, Sorsogon, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan and Davao.

Silay City is able to meet the criteria. It has the presence of UN-Habitat projects or activities. In governance, Silay has the ‘seal of good housekeeping’ and has portrayed a critical role in regional growth. It is a medium–size city and has the opportunities for national government program support. It is a recipient of awards of excellence in tourism, arts and culture, education, health, sports, and has a model one-stop-shop for tax payers in Western Visayas.

Mayor Jose Montelibano said, “Our collective efforts have paid off. Growth opportunities are there and investors are getting interested to do business in Silay. I am thanking the Silaynons for their support and for their comments and suggestions on how to improve our city. We live in Silay and we will retire in Silay. We have to prepare the best future for our children and a pleasant atmosphere for the retirees”. These are the words of Mayor Oti to the representatives of UN-Habitat for a Better Urban Future.

With the assurance from the city government, UN–Habitat projected its goal to strengthen the capacities of national government agencies and cities in achieving sustainable urban development by demonstrating innovative and responsive approaches in dealing with urban issues. The project thematic areas cover urban planning, urban energy, urban mobility, urban economy and finance, urban resilience and shelter.

The cooperation of everybody paved the way for the project development milestones. The consultation with key partners and urban development practitioners took place in the second quarter of 2012 wherein the position paper was presented. The touch-base with local executives was in the third quarter of 2012 and there was the project launching and commitment signing. The international mission and city consultations and the project approval were on March 2013 (fourth quarter).

The key areas have been identified for the 8 cities participating and majority of the outputs are taken from Silay being the model in the presentation for the other cities to see. For urban planning, Silay has plans for city extensions, improved plans (enhanced CDP, CLUP), and comprehensive city shelter plans. The drainage plans has been integrated into the city extension plan. Improved local revenue system has been given focus also. The National Historical Institute has singled out 29 ancestral houses that are still in good condition. Out of the 15 historical sites in the country, Silay is on top.

UN-Habitat identifies the following opportunities for Silay: gateway to Negros Island, urban and commercial expansion area, proximity and link to Bacolod, tourism development area and the opportunity for clean energy considering that Vivant is starting to develop hydroelectric power source in Silay. Support and technical plans jive with the vision of Silay City, “a city with a vibrant and expanding economy based on a well-managed local resource providing investment opportunities not only from exterior but also from local sectors.”

It is foreseen by UN-Habitat that following urban trend, Silay will become a commercial and a settlements catchment or expansion area in the near future. Silaynons believe in your capacity to rise with your leaders. There are no great people only great challenges which you have to meet. You are strong! You have the culture that gives you faith, intelligence, nobility and courage to rise above your common selves. Be proud that you are Silaynons!

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 08, 2013.

Opinion

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