The City of Bacolod was recently chosen by the World Bank (WB) as among select pilot cities in the country 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.
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 (LCP).
Upon learning of this development, Mayor Evelio Leonardia 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.”
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.
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 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.
Leonardia 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, will arrive 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.
This new WB grant comes just months after another foreign grant was approved for Bacolod last June by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as among only six pilot cities in the country, for the implementation of the Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines (ABC+ Project), in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd).