USAID expands development program to GenSan

November 28, 2017, 6:20 pm

GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has formally adopted this city as expansion area for its innovative Cities Development Initiative (CDI).

USAID and the city government forged a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Monday for the implementation of a range of initiatives that will further enhance the area’s socio-economic growth and development.

City Mayor Ronnel Rivera signed the MOU for the local government while USAID was represented by its mission director to the Philippines Lawrence Hardy II.

“This is a major boost to our socio-economic and development initiatives. We are very grateful to USAID for including our city in the CDI,” the city mayor said.

The city is the eighth in the country that was chosen by USAID to join the CDI. The project is being implemented in the cities of Batangas, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, Puerto Princesa, Tagbilaran, Zamboanga and Legazpi.

A project briefer said USAID, through the initiative, “works closely with city governments outside Metro Manila to fulfill their potential as engines of inclusive, environmentally sustainable, and resilient growth.”

It will provide a range of technical assistance to the city government in terms of economic growth, health, environment, governance, and education.

Hardy said the expansion of CDI in the city is part of USAID’s long-standing partnership with the local government.

He said that the agency had mainly helped build the city international airport, the Makar or city port and the area’s road networks.

Under the project, he said USAID would work with the city, government, civil society and the private sector to make the city more appealing to investors.

Hardy said they would assist the city in linking up its markets with the rural areas to promote economic growth and expand industries “so that they can produce more sustainable revenues.”

“That means more money, more jobs and more (development) opportunities for the area,” he said.

The CDI will also help strengthen the area’s quality of health, education and services as well as promote environmental resilience and inclusive governance.

“(This) means more opportunities for the civil society to become more engaged in the affairs of the region, city and province,” he said.

Through the help of the initiative, Hardy said they envision the city to eventually become a key economic, commercial and industrial hub in the country.

“It will later take leadership role in assisting other cities as well,” he said.

Lawyer Raul Miguel, president of the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, lauded the city’s inclusion into the CDI.

He noted that there are a lot of things that the city needs to improve on, especially in terms of public services and governance.

“We really appreciate the city government’s commitment to improve our business climate and the governance aspect,” he said.(PNA)