The engine of economic growth is innovation.
By harnessing the power of science and technology, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has embarked on an ambitious project, but nonetheless a very crucial move if the country is to join the ranks of other fast-developing countries towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The DOST Region II (DOST-RII), led by Regional Director Eng’r Sancho A. Mabborang recently introduced the first-ever Smarter City Belt Project in the Philippines, an undertaking that will spur economic growth in the region. During its launch on March 23, 2021, the project carried the theme, “Exploring New Growth through Innovation and Nurturing Engagement of Smart Solutions” or ENGINES.
It is expected to nurture synergies and collaborations between and among cities and municipalities, pulling their resources toward a common goal that are seen to lead to smarter outcomes.
“Achieving this would not be easy, but it is possible. If we all work together in nurturing Cagayan Valley, it is achievable to make every city in the region a smarter city,” Mabborang said during his opening remarks and presentation of the Smarter City Belt concept.
De la Peña lauds DOST-RII
Smarter City Belt is a collaborative project that aims to make cities in the region future-ready. This can be done by using the latest technologies and innovations from DOST, the R&D outputs of the State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), and those from the Higher Education Institutes (HEIs).
Furthermore, the project will also address challenges in the region through the use of science, technology, and innovation (STI) to enhance opportunities relating to sustainable development.
During the recent launch, DOST Secretary Professor Fortunato T. de la Peña, in his keynote speech, congratulated DOST II for its vision of creating smarter cities in Cagayan Valley and for taking the lead on this endeavor.
“Let me start by congratulating your region as it continues to strive in producing Smarter Cities all over Cagayan Valley,” Secretary de la Peña said.
Local government executive airs optimism
The science chief also stressed the resonating benefits this will give in providing more employment opportunities in the region. “May our smarter cities be for the benefit of the majority, especially our workers who help sustain Cagayan Valley. May our services and leadership be for the region and its people,” “de la Peña added.
Moreover, City Mayors Jefferson P. Soriano of Tuguegarao and Joseph Tan of Santiago presented their Smart City solutions, plans, and initiatives in implementing the said project. They also expressed their gratitude to the DOST and other partner agencies for their support to achieve the Smarter City goals and objectives.
As the prime model of Smarter City in the Philippines, Mayor Bernard Dy of Cauayan City, Isabela, also presented their experiences and journey as well as their accomplishments since they initially implemented the Smarter City project.
“We are on the right track to improve the life of our citizens. Smarter City is a lifestyle of the cities as well as the citizens,” Mayor Dy said.
DOST-RII awarded Php1 million to the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Tuguegarao City as its “seed” fund for the implementation of the project, especially for its Smarter Health initiatives. DOST, Cagayan State University, and University of Saint Louis Tuguegarao signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to firmly seal the partnership.
Smarter City project gets strong support
The Smarter City Belt Project in Region II is composed of Cauayan City in Isabela, the first smarter city in the region, together with three other chartered cities in the region, namely: Tuguegarao City in Cagayan, Santiago City, and Ilagan City in Isabela, and emerging growth centers in the towns of Bayombong and Solano in Nueva Vizcaya, Maddela, Cabarroguis and Diffun in Quirino, Lallo and Sta. Ana in Cagayan, and Basco in Batanes Islands.
Other stakeholders who are giving their full support to this project are the following: DOST- Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit, who vowed continued support for the Smarter City Belt project; Chairperson of the Smarter Cities Network, Singapore, Mr. Kok-chin Tay; 4th District Representative of Isabela Alyssa Sheena Tan; and 3rd District Representative of Cagayan Joseph Lara. Lastly, the presidents of the SUCs and HEIs in the region were also putting their stake as well in the project by giving their undivided support. (✓)