Sustainable cities envisioned, earns support of government agencies

Authored by Senator Pia Cayetano, Senate Bill No. 65 or the Sustainable Cities & Communities Act earned the support of national government agencies such as the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Education (DepEd) as it aims to develop Smart Cities.

In a Senate Committee hearing on Urban Planning, Housing, and Resettlement, Sen. Pia Cayetano said that cities must be prepared for all kinds of future scenarios including a health crisis.

"When I drafted this bill, a pandemic was not in my mind, but our targets of our SDGs. Now, it is very clear that another pandemic could be looming in the future. [Thus, the need to set up sustainable cities] so they could cope with all possible future scenarios," the Senator stated.

Senate Bill No. 65 or the Sustainable Cities & Communities Act calls for change especially in urban cities to shift to sustainable communities prepared to address instances such as natural calamities.

The senator also added that the proposed legislation adheres to the sustainable development goals (SDG) of the United Nations, especially SDG 11 which seeks to make cities and human settlements “inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable” by 2030.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Ricojudge Echiverri said that SB No. 65 will contribute to empowerment of communities to further local autonomy – one of the agency’s mandates.

Undersecretary Tonisito Umali of the Department of Education (DepEd) said education would play a vital role in the model for sustainable cities and communities.

SB No. 65 presents the opportunity for local governments to refine their Comprehensive Land Use Plans according to Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario. He also added that the agency is ready to assist communities in the development of such plans.

Sen. Francis Tolentino, who chairs the Senate Committee on Urban Planning, commended the bill and said that it is very timely highlighting the need for policy and infrastructural reforms.

 

"Sustainability transcends this contagion. And we must look for solutions... More than ever, we have to review and recalibrate our approach on urban development," he said,

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