Learn from the best: San Juan execs on benchmarking visit to the US

Officials of the San Juan City local government visited the State of California in the US for a series of benchmarking activities aimed at learning the best practices of California's officials and government agencies which can be replicated in the city.


Mayor Francis Zamora

Led by San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora and Vice Mayor Angelo Agcaoili, the city's councilors and department heads listened to the lecture of Dr. Joseph Prud'homme on US-Philippine relations and how these affect the governance and California's best practices.


(Photo from Mayor Francis Zamora)

"Dr. Joseph Prud’homme is the founding director of the Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture at Washington College. He received his doctorate from Princeton University, where he studied in the Interdepartmental Program in Political Philosophy, with additional specialization in constitutional law and religious studies," Zamora said.

"He was awarded a Fellowship at Harvard University, where he studied at the Harvard Law School and served as a member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He has also held a Visiting Fellowship at the University of Oxford," he added.

Prud’homme was also the founder of the Washington Global Institute, the organizer of the city's learning visit to California thru the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The delegates also went to Irvine, California to learn its best practices in terms of emergency response and disaster preparedness through Irvine's National Incident Management System, Standardized Emergency Management System, Incident Command System, and Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program.


(Photo from Mayor Francis Zamora)

The officials also visited Orange County to learn its best practices focusing on emergency response, waste management, social services, and public safety.


(Photo from Mayor Francis Zamora)

"We met with Orange County's Third District Supervisor Donald Wagner who personally shared their government's framework to us. These learnings will help us better serve our dear San Juaneños in these specific areas of governance," the mayor explained.

Foreign visits

Zamora, who is also the president of the Metro Manila Council (MMC), had become involved in various international benchmarking activities to learn the best practices of other countries and cities that could inspire LGUs in Metro Manila to do the same in their respective areas.

In February, MMC officials went to Los Angeles (LA) to learn its best practices on emergency response as well as its efforts and initiatives in maintaining peace and order in the city of around 4 million residents that could be adopted in the National Capital Region (NCR).

There, they met with LA officials and deputy heads at the City Hall and visited the LA Emergency Operations Center and LA Fire Department (LAFD) wherein they were welcomed and briefed by LAFD Fire Chief Kristin Crowley on the fire department's various vehicles, equipment, and command center.

They also visited the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) where they learned about the best practices in maintaining peace and order in the city of very diverse nationalities.

MMC officials also went to the Netherlands in 2023 to learn about its best practices on sustainability and environmental protection.

The delegates met with Dutch officials on environment-focused initiatives and frameworks specifically in water recycling and waste management to avoid flooding.

Zamora also visited Amsterdam's underwater bike parking facility which is built underneath a huge canal that can accommodate close to 11,000 bikes.

This facility is also directly accessible to train stations which makes transportation more convenient for the Dutch people.