PH to finish six Cebu, Manila, Davao smart city projects – DILG

Published September 1, 2021, 5:43 PM

by Chito Chavez

The Philippines is bent on completing its six smart city projects as part of its commitment to the 4th ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) annual virtual meeting last August 30, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Wednesday, Sept. 1.

DILG Undersecretary for Local Government Marlo L. Iringan, who represented DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año, said that while the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic hampered the implementation of smart city projects, the Philippines through its participating local government units (LGUs) is totally committed in pursuing its smart city initiatives.

The smart city projects which were showcased by the DILG during the ASCN meeting include the Command Center Upgrade and E-government Services in the City of Manila; Bus Rapid Transit System and Digital Traffic System in Cebu City; and Converged Command and Control Center and Intelligent Transportation and Traffic Systems with Security in Davao City.

“Meeting challenges in the implementation of our smart city projects was inevitable primarily because of the COVID-19 crisis as local government resources were poured into pandemic response and imposition of health protocols,” Iringan said.

“Despite these obstacles, we will fulfill our commitment to complete the smart city projects as they will improve the delivery of government services and make things more convenient for the public,” he added.

Established in 2018 during the 32nd ASEAN Summit, the ASCN is a collaborative platform where cities from the ten ASEAN Member States work towards the common goal of smart and sustainable urban development. It aims to facilitate cooperation on smart cities development, catalyze bankable projects with the private sector, and secure funding and support from ASEAN’s external partners.

Iringan pointed out that the configuration of said projects are focused on the need for an efficient emergency and crisis response center that provides real time information for the safety, protection of constituencies, and increased resilience considering the country’s location in the Pacific Ring of Fire.

He stressed that the improvement of the traffic management and transportation systems as well as the provision of e-services in government transactions are being pushed to lessen travel trips and provide for efficient mass transportation systems to address the longstanding problem of mobility and traffic congestion in urban cities.

Manila, Cebu, Davao smart city projects

In his country report, Iringan presented the command center upgrade in Manila City Hall which mainly acts as contact and dispatch center for emergency services.

The command center showcased 28 display panels and over 100 high end cameras strategically placed throughout the city that allows recognition of facial features and license plates.

On the other hand, Manila’s e-Government Services through the Go! Manila web and mobile applications addressed the need for online processing and payment of government services during the pandemic.

The mobile application also addressed problems on long queues, time-consuming processes, fixers, and need for physical presence in the City Hall.

Currently, the features of the app include the City of Manila’s Real Property and Business Tax payments; a wide range of facilities for payment of bills for government and private entities; securing of other government permits and documents such as residence certificate, birth and death certificates, occupancy permit and heath certificate; payment of utilities, money transfer transactions, among others.

Meanwhile, Cebu City’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Line Plan aims to improve the overall performance of the urban passenger transport system for a more efficient intra-city mass transportation.

As for the city’s Digital Traffic System project, Iringan reported that 18 of the 85 road intersections in the city have already been installed with sensors and high-resolution surveillance cameras for vehicle detection, license plate recognition and speed dome for general surveillance.

“Davao City’s Converged Command Center, on the other hand, is now in the second phase of its five-phase implementation scheme with digital infrastructure, underground cables, aerial installation of fiber optic cables, and additional closed-circuit televisions or CCTVs for surveillance currently being installed. Its complementary project dubbed as High Priority Bus System (HPBS) is now 70 percent complete while the design of depots and terminals for electric bus (eBus) is 30 percent in progress,’’ the DILG noted. (Chito A. Chavez)