Manila making it to Bloomberg’s 2021 Global Mayors Challenge is no surprise

June 17, 2021 People's Tonight 417 views

Itchie CabayanWHEN I heard that Manila made it as one of the 50 finalists in the Bloomberg Philanthropies 2021 Global Mayors Challenge, I was no longer surprised. Mind you, 631 cities participated in it and only two cities from the Philippines were selected.

The 2021 Global Mayors Challenge is ‘an innovation competition that will identify and accelerate the most ambitious ideas developed by cities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.’

Only 50 finalists that represent the world’s leading urban innovations to emerge from the pandemic were chosen. Apart from the robust multi-year support to implement and spread their breakthrough ideas, $1 million awaits each of the 15 grand prize winners.

Manila was joined by Butuan City in being selected to the top 50. They are the only cities in the Philippine to have made it due to the bold innovations they introduced in relation to the pandemic and Mayor Isko Moreno was but too happy to share the honor with Butuan.

Learned that the program of the 2021 Global Mayors Challenges is focused on the most significant public innovations generated in response to thel COVID-19 pandemic. Mayors from 631 cities in 99 countries applied by submitting their most promising ideas for consideration. The four criteria considered for the finalists’ elevation to the top 50 were vision, potential for impact, feasibility and transferability. Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and 108th mayor of New York City, was quoted as having said: “These 50 finalists are showing the world that in the face of the pandemic’s enormous challenges, cities are rising to meet them with bold, innovative, and ambitious helping these cities test their ideas over the coming months, we will have a chance to identify cutting-edge policies and programs that can allow cities to rebuild in ways that make them stronger and healthier, and more equal and more just.”

Manila fell under the Asia-Pacific category, from which 16 percent of the finalists came. Here, Manila and Butuan were the only two from the Philippines who made it.

They are in the company of Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand; Daegu, South Korea, Pune and Rourkela in India, Taipei.

Manila was cited for building a 21st-century data infrastructure to improve city services while in the case of Butuan, Philippines, it was for leveraging predictive data to bolster local farmers.

While I haven’t been following the developments in Butuan, I am well aware of how the pandemic and its accompanying problems are being effectively addressed in Manila.

In fact, to date, Mayor Kois had announced that on June 24, which is the founding anniversary of Manila, two very important events relative to the global health emergency situation will be taking place to mark the special event for Manilans.

First, the city is expecting the arrival of 400,000 Sinovac doses which the mayor ordered from China. This will ensure the continuous vaccination of a very good number of Manilans. This is on top of the 800,000 Astra Zeneca doses which, although ordered much earlier also by Mayor Kois, will arrive in September yet.

Then, there is of course the Manila COVID-19 Field Hospital in Luneta which was built in a record 52 days. Mayor Kois had imposed upon himself a 60-day deadline and beat it too.

He gave recognition to the hundreds of personnel who worked round-the-clock to finish the said hospital quick, under the supervision of City Engineer Armand Andres, City Electrician Randy Sadac and City Architect Pepito Balmoris who also spent so much time on the said project to meet the mayor’s deadline without sacrificing the quality of the hospital.

In terms of the mass inoculation program, Manila was also recognized as the city leading all others in the country when it comes to the swift, orderly and efficient deployment of the vaccines.

These are just some of the countless neasures inatituted by Mayor Kois to address the pandemic. Bloomberg will have a feast day if such is the basis in choosing the winners.


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