Iloilo City is among the nine partner local government units in the country chosen for a five-year project that enhances local economic development. Velma Jane Lao, head of the Local Economic Development and Investment Promotion Office, said this city has pre-qualified for the Urban Connect Project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). 'The intervention is really enhancing local economic development so that the city will have inclusive and resilient economic growth,' she said in a phone interview on Wednesday. The project has a PHP625 million allocation to cover its implementation in all partner cities for capacity-building and technical assistance. Other partner cities are Batangas, Legazpi, Puerto Princesa, Tacloban, Tagbilaran, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos and Zamboanga. Urban Connect Project will work closely with them to facilitate enterprise growth, streamline the business permit system, reinforce public financial management, promote e-governance transition and enhance cooperation between neighboring cities. Lao said the city would look into areas that need to be improved like digitalization to achieve the end-to-end process and business and construction permitting process where the application is done online. 'There are areas within the process that have to be enhanced or need an ordinance,' she said. The city would also work with local government unit members of the Metro Iloilo-Guimaras Economic Development Council (MIGEDC) for inter-local arrangements to address cross-border issues. 'What is good is we already have it. What we will do is to build on whatever we have,' Lao said. She said that at the end of the five-year project, they looked forward to seeing Metro Iloilo and not just the city as a preferred investment destination in the country. 'We are not looking at Iloilo City only. What is good if Metro Iloilo is developed is the distribution of benefits throughout neighboring areas,' Lao said. The project was introduced during Tuesday's meeting between the city government and USAID. 'The focus of our discussions revolved around innovative strategies to improve the delivery of public services. Through these efforts, we aim to nurture a well-governed city that is increasingly self-reliant, self-sufficient and self-empowered. This collaboration exemplifies our commitment to ensuring that Iloilo City remains at the forefront of progress and sustainable growth,' Iloilo Mayor Jerry Treñas, who joined the virtual meeting, said in a statement.
Source: Philippines News Agency