The regional office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Region II recently unveiled the first “Smarter City Belt Project” in the Philippines to spur economic growth in Cagayan Valley.
The participating LGUs in 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.
DOST Region II director Sancho A. Mabborang led last March 23 the launch of the initiative, which is expected to nurture synergies and collaborations between and among cities and municipalities in Cagayan Valley.
“Achieving this would not be easy, but it is possible. If we all work together in nurturing Cagayan Valley, we can make every city in the region a smarter city,” Mabborang said during his opening remarks.
The Smarter City Belt is a collaborative project that aims to make cities in the region future-ready by using the latest technologies and innovations from the DOST, as well as R&D outputs from the state universities and colleges (SUCs) and higher education institutions (HEIs).
The project also aims to address challenges in the region through the use of science, technology, and innovation (STI) to enhance opportunities relating to sustainable development.
During the launch, DOST secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña cited DOST Region II for its vision of creating smarter cities in Cagayan Valley and for taking the lead on the project. The science chief also stressed the benefits the project is expected to provide in terms of employment opportunities in the region.
Tuguegarao City mayor Jefferson P. Soriano and Santiago City mayor Joseph Tan presented their own Smart City masterplan even as they cited the DOST and other partner agencies for the S&T initiative. Cauayan City mayor Bernard Dy also presented their experience as well as accomplishments in implementing the Smarter City project.
DOST Region II awarded P1 million to the local government of Tuguegarao City to serve as “seed fund” for the implementation of the project, especially for its Smarter Health initiatives. A memorandum of agreement was signed between DOST, Cagayan State University, and University of Saint Louis Tuguegarao to seal the partnership.