TAGBILARAN City, Bohol, February 6, 2015 (PIA) –In the pursuit of a more meaningful inclusive and broad-based economic growth in the country sides, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Tagbilaran City in a bid to create a new growth hub in this part of the Visayas.
By signing, both parties: USAID, through Mission Director Gloria Steele and Tagbilaran City, through Mayor John Geesnell Yap, agree to supporting the development of the city as a growth hub in the Philippines.
While it does not bind both parties, the MOU collectively allow the parties to cooperate to execute catalytic, sustainable, transparent and equitable economic reforms to spur rapid, broad-based, and inclusive economic growth in Tagbilaran City.
USAID will strive to assist Tagbilaran City in the infrastructure, small and medium enterprise, education, energy, environment, health, and disaster preparedness and mitigation sectors, and give in-kind or technical assistance in the form of training and commodities to further the development objectives of Tagbilaran City.
And as the US government sources out aid, Tagbilaran City on the other hand, will provide counterpart support including logistics, such as office space, equipment or clerical support for USAID-supported consultants.
It shall also establish and fill certain government positions, designate project counterparts; support training missions and activities; enact and issue complementary city ordinances and relevant memoranda, receive and accept commodities, assist in installing or training staff and deploy other resources needed.
USAID Mission Director Gloria Steele explained that by signing the MOU on the Cities Development Initiative (CDI), they are willing putting to test a hypothesis: that working with second wave cities to become new growth centers can equally bring up neighboring areas to the development.
This, she said is spreading development and allowing the other areas in the country to experience inclusive growth.
In her summary to the signing activity, Steele, who also happens to be a Filipino born in Luzon, pointed out that with 6.1% to 7.1% economic growth rates noted in the past years, it is a wonder why poverty has remained virtually the same.
She cited only Metro Manila, Calabarzon and Central Luzon enjoying the growth.
With the US assistance into five decades of helping the country improve on its poverty issues, USAID now sees the need to increase the effective demand for secondary cities, thus Tagbilaran.
Consultations between USAID and Tagbilaran City’s public and private sectors show development challenges with respect to investment growth, improving competitiveness, revenue administration, infrastructure development and finance, energy supply, access to capital, university-business sector-LGU links, health services delivery and health concerns of the youth, and vulnerability to disasters, according to the MOU preamble.
These consultations also highlighted certain opportunities for facilitating inclusive growth in Tagbilaran City through proper planning and targeted interventions, the CDI memorandum states.
Meanwhile, USAID Chief of Party Dr. Henry Basilio also said Tagbilaran City would be the latest cities that the United States is assisting technically, in a bid to make second wave cities become primary hubs.
He named Batangas in Luzon, Ilo-ilo in the Visayas and Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao as last year’s CDI picks. More recently are Zamboanga City in Mindanao and Tagbilaran in the Visayas. (RAC/PIABohol)