Makati's 'Sister Cities' program a big help in responding to calamities, pandemic

The Makati City local government said that its "Sister Cities" program is essential in nation-building as it not only helps Makati's nearby cities and provinces respond to natural calamities and the pandemic, but also strengthens the bond between the "sister cities."

“As our partners in nation-building, their rapid recovery is crucial to sustaining our mutual cooperation, which aims to drive sustainable and inclusive socio-economic growth both at the local and national levels,” City Administrator Claro Certeza said.

Certeza added that based on the records of the International Relations Department, Makati has a total of 549 sister local government units (LGUs) to date.

The city also has sisterhood ties with 23 foreign cities and municipalities, many of which were formalized during the administration of former Vice President Jejomar Binay.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Makati has donated 31,000 COVID-19 vaccines to some of its sister cities to boost their COVID-19 response efforts.

Certeza added that Makati has also been able to extend various forms of assistance to disaster-stricken sister localities throughout the country in the previous years.

In 2020, Makati City Mayor Abby Binay ordered the deployment of the city’s disaster response vehicles and equipment to Bauan, Batangas to assist thousands of evacuees from localities affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano.

The city has also donated P17 million in financial assistance to sister localities affected by Typhoon Tisoy which hit the country on Dec. 1, 2019. The recipients included localities in the provinces of Quezon, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Albay, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, Sorsogon, and Northern Samar.

Various localities in Mindanao that were hit by a series of earthquakes in October 2019 also received some P24 million in financial aid from Makati. Among them were local government units in North Cotabato and Davao del Sur, including the provincial governments.

In 2017, 27 sister localities directly affected by Typhoon Nina received a total of P15 million in financial assistance from the city. The beneficiaries were from the provinces of Quezon, Albay, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, and Marinduque.

In 2008, 90 localities devastated by Typhoon Frank received relief assistance from the city, which appropriated P10 million for this purpose.

In the same year, Makati distributed relief goods to families housed in evacuation centers in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, and Sarangani, after they were forced to leave their homes because of a spate of attacks led by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels.

Makati City Mayor Abby Binay gave assurance that the Sister Cities program will continue to serve the public and expressed hope that it will expand to other areas in the country.