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Makati finalist in World Smart Cities Awards

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Makati Mayor Abby Binay said the city has been selected as a finalist for the World Smart Cities Awards this year, which will be presented during the Smart City Expo World Congress to be held in Barcelona, Spain from November 19 to 21.

The mayor said Makati is the only local government unit from the Philippines that has been invited to present its project entry titled “Use of technology to improve city disaster preparedness and communication to and from city citizens” during the awarding ceremony on November 20 at the Fira de Barcelona Gran Via, one of the largest fair venues in Europe.

“Makati City is proud to have the opportunity to represent our country at a global event that features the best practices of smart cities around the world to promote the sustainable development of cities,” Mayor Abby said.

The mayor said the event organizers have informed her that Makati has been selected as a finalist in the Innovative Idea category of the awards.

“We have gladly accepted the invitation, and we look forward to having a meaningful exchange of ideas and experiences with fellow advocates of sustainability and inclusivity from other parts of the globe. We are also eager to explore avenues for international collaboration, particularly with cities, academic institutions and corporate leaders that share the vision of thriving, future-proof cities worldwide,” Mayor Abby said.

According to its website, the annual SmartCity Expo World Congress, which started in 2011, is the meeting point for companies, public sector, startups, academia and citizens working together for the sustainable development of cities.

With the theme, “Cities Made of Dreams”, this year’s congress will focus on five main tracks, namely, Digital Transformation, Urban Environment, Mobility, Governance & Finance, and Inclusive & Sharing Cities.

Last month, Mayor Abby was also the only Filipino presenter at the International Urban Resilience Forum held in Seoul, Korea, co-hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The forum aimed to provide a venue for local government units across the globe to share their DRRM best practices. The participants included mayors, governors, executives in disaster management, professors, academics, disaster experts, and urban planning specialists.

Mayor Abby presented the city’s disaster management plans and strategies, which are focused on the following main objectives: Reduce disaster-related mortality and injuries; Minimize the number of affected people; Reduce direct disaster economic loss; and Minimize damage to infrastructure and disruption of basic services.

She also emphasized that Makati was the third in the world and the first in the Philippines to have formulated its Pre-Disaster Recovery Plan, which contains the city’s policies and activities from pre-disaster to post-disaster phases, including vital mechanisms and systems to be pre-positioned for smoother and faster recovery.

At the start of her term in mid-2016, Mayor Abby vowed to continuously build the city’s resilience in line with her vision of a “smart city” with sustainable and resilient communities.

To date, the city has purchased 141 DRRM vehicles to improve the response time and capabilities of police officers, firefighters, and emergency responders. 

The city has also installed 136 automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in public schools and the City Hall and 307 CCTV cameras, which are being monitored by Makati C3.

Over 500 emergency go bags have been distributed to families living in the five-meter buffer zone of the West Valley Fault, while 92,802 bags and 25,466 hard hats have been distributed to public school students in the city.

The city’s DRRM Office has also trained first responders, barangay officials, and volunteers on the use of AEDs, basic life support, rapid damage assessment and needs analysis training, restricted land mobile training, and institutionalized incident command system training.

In 2017, Makati established the country’s first DRRM Academy at the University of Makati, which aims to develop ordinary citizens into certified DRRM practitioners with the end-goal of transforming communities into highly resilient and sustainable drivers of local and national progress.

The mayor also recently bared plans to build a modern complex integrating the city's central fire station, police headquarters, rescue team and public safety department. The Makati Command Control and Communications Center (C3) will also be turned into an Internet-of-Things (IoT) platform, to be used in the development of an integrated DRR data and information management system.

To date, the city government remains well-connected to its citizens through social media and online applications, including My Makati Facebook page that currently has over 263,000 active followers. Through the Makatizen App, the first-of-its-kind digital citizen app in the country, over 15,200 users to date can instantly report crimes, emergencies and various other concerns to the city government for appropriate response from the authorities, aside from getting regular updates on important events, programs and accomplishments of the city.

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