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President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino (4PH) Program" master plan supports the development of smart cities, specifically its component on township development.

This was highlighted by Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Secretary Jose Rizalino Acuzar in his keynote speech during The Business World x The FREEMAN Forum in Cebu City on Friday.

Acuzar discussed “The Prospect of Smart Cities: From a Real Estate Perspective”, which he regarded as timely and relevant, as the Department pushes to elevate the living conditions of the Filipino people through decent shelters in sustainable communities through the 4PH.

“In the parlance of a government agency such as ours, it can only mean enhancing the quality of life of our fellow Filipinos through innovations and technological solutions in the housing, human settlements and urban development sectors,” Acuzar said.

Recognizing the advent of technologies available at the government’s disposal, he similarly acknowledged the significance of bringing these together to potentially make life more comfortable than ever, and sustainable for future generations.

The housing czar explained the essence of developing smart cities, which is to bring forward the vision of improving the quality of lives in urban areas where it matters most.

He said this can be achieved through maximizing land uses, efficiently using our valuable resources, delicately balancing and promoting our open spaces and connecting them through networks, and investing on and adoption of appropriate technological breakthroughs, which will translate into realizing the cities’ or housing communities’ purpose for local inhabitants and the general public.

“It sounds pretty complicated, as it is indeed complicated. Establishing smart cities would entail weaving various social, economic, geographical as well as political components into a net of strategies capturing urban development,” Acuzar said.

He cited the Digital Cities Index (DCI) 2022, developed by the Economist Impact and supported by the Nippon Electric Company. The assessment considers four key pillars, namely, digital connectivity, services, culture and sustainability to assess the extent, and impact of digitization in 30 global cities.

The results showed the performance of the subject cities in terms of both quantitative metrics, like internet speed, and qualitative factors, like the presence of strategies, policies and plans for technologies like 5G and artificial intelligence.

Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Beijing, London and Seoul ranked as the top-performing cities, while Manila dipped to the bottom of the list.

“That is somehow devastating. As a developing country, we are apparently lagging behind. But with recent realizations, thankfully, we are now pursuing the promising track, especially with Pambansang Pabahay,” Acuzar reckoned.

The government’s 4PH Program boasts of a two-pronged strategy to construct houses, while aiming for township development, complete with amenities and services a housing community will need, including sources of livelihood and digital connectivity.

The program also looks into mega cities that will provide opportunities for economic growth, among other prospects.

An example is the North-South Development Project, a transit-oriented development initiative that intends to create viable connections of Luzon Island’s major metropolis, to multiply their potentials for genuine urban renewal and growth while helping address excessive urban migration in Metro Manila.

“How are we going to make this happen? We need feasible investments and an enabling policy environment. From both the business and public points of view, it means collaboration between the government and the private sector,” Acuzar said.

He also mentioned Davao City and Cebu City as the Philippines’ forefront at the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) initiative, and the New Clark City in Tarlac. He considered this as an indication that Filipino stakeholders are now putting premium on smart city development, which is a big turn on for potential investors.

Early this year, the DHSUD formalized partnership with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority for housing projects in New Clark City – to attract the populace from adjacent provinces and trigger economic activities there.

“We are literally drawing smart cities on a laid canvass with a holistic point of view. I am very confident that we can further expand our horizon on related innovations, new technologies and best practices to transform our cities, not only as resilient and sustainable but smart as well,” Acuzar said.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon

Quelle/Source: The Freeman, 13.11.2023

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