Malabon City, Human Cities Coalition unite for sustainable urban community projects » Manila Bulletin Newsbit

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Building inclusive cities of the future

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Its ongoing platform to drive inclusive urban development and sustainable growth right at the communities that need them has led the Malabon City government, led by Mayor Antolin “Len” Oreta III, to enter into a joint partnership agreement with The Human Cities Coalition (HCC), a Netherlands-based foundation.

The MoA signing was led by Malabon City Mayor Antolin Oreta III (seated, 3rd from left) and Ronald Lenz, HCC director (seated, 3rd from right). Also there to witness the partnership was The Netherlands Ambassador to the Philippines Marion Derckx (seated, 2nd from right), city officials and representatives from HCC partner groups and communities.

The collaboration was formally affirmed through a recent MoA signing with Mayor Oreta, Liza Bernardo Zurbito, program manager of HCC; Maria Lina Punzalan, city planning and development coordinator; Ronald Lenz, HCC director; Esther Bosgra, HCC operations manager. Also there to witness the partnership was The Netherlands Ambassador to the Philippines Marion Derckx and the City Council members and representatives from HCC partner groups and slum communities.

Under the agreement, both parties will help improve the lives of the Malabon residents by jointly implementing innovative programs to develop a livable and sustainable, highly urbanized city communities.

The City Government believes that it will boost its ongoing community development plan to transform Malabon slum areas into livable, safe, and highly sustainable urban zones.

Mayor Oreta expressed the importance of the joint collaboration to realize the city’s long-term development vision.

“HCC is helping us develop our communities, namely in terms of improving the drainage system, surveying the land. Hopefully, this will become a model for future sustainable development plans. (For the project), two areas in Barangay Catmon and one in Tonsuya will serve as the pilot locations. What makes it a noteworthy venture is that the HCC will be guiding and teaching the LGU on how it will be sustained and developed. Through this we will also have data banking, which, being a vital source of information, the LGU can use in helping out or in designing better community-based plans or solutions,” the mayor said.

HCC Director Lenz welcomed the development as he believes this will benefit the city’s poor inhabitants.

“We believe in a human-centered approach where we work directly with communities to find out what their needs are, and to see if we can make smart, viable and sustainable business scapes together with the private sector. We work in a larger area of the Manila Bay, but our first collaboration is here in Malabon City,” he said.

“Being specially interested in water-related challenges, and sharing the same problems as The Netherlands, we are located very much below sea level. Malabon has a lot of challenges also, being known as the ‘Venice of the Philippines’. The openness and willingness of the city government to work inclusively with the communities and to move this together with us makes them an innovator and first LGU partner to build solutions,” Lenz added.

Established as a Dutch private partnership dedicated in making cities sustainable, inclusive, and more resilient, HCC’s coalition currently consists of 20 partners and around 150 key stakeholders spanning from blue-chip companies and top-tier universities to grassroots organizations and governments.

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