GFCP delivery partner completes important milestones during a landmark visit to Cebu City

For the first time in nearly two years, the Global Future City Programme’s (GFCP) Cebu delivery team visited Cebu. From 30 November to 3 December 2021, the team engaged in a suite of activities ranging from in-person meetings with key stakeholders to site visits around Cebu. Up until now, the team had been unable to visit Cebu due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and most of work has been done remotely. This visit by the intervention’s Team Leader Allen Williams, Affordable Housing Specialist Royston Brockman, and Assistant Project Manager Benny Adapon was an opportunity to confirm the team’s assessments of the city and develop a deeper understanding of the sites which had been the subject of their study over the last several years. In-person meetings with key stakeholders from the city government were incredibly positive, providing an opportunity for the team to secure the city’s commitment to implementing its outputs after the programme’s completion.

Discussion with (from left) Allen Williams (GFCP Cebu delivery partner), Cherrie Nuez (FCDO), Bimbo Fernandez (Pagtambayayong Foundation), and Royston Brockman (GFCP Cebu delivery partner). Source: GFCP Cebu City Intervention, 2021

Her Majesty’s UK Ambassador’s courtesy visit to Cebu’s Mayor

Laure Beaufils, the United Kingdom’s Ambassador to the Philippines, visited Cebu City from 1 to 2 December 2021 for the first time and paid the courtesy visit to the city’s Mayor, Michael Rama. This was the Embassy’s first diplomatic meeting with the Office of the Mayor since a Memorandum of Understanding, initiating the project, was signed in January 2020. The Cebu delivery team was incredibly grateful for the FCDO’s invitation to attend the courtesy visit, along with members of the Embassy’s and the Mayor’s parties, in an affirmation of the long-standing and productive relationship between Cebu City and the United Kingdom.

UK Embassy officials, Cebu City officials, and GFCP Cebu delivery team members at the Mayor’s Office. Source: Cebu City Public Information Office, 2021

 

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The United Kingdom’s Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils and Cebu City’s Mayor Michael Rama. Source: Cebu City Public Information Office, 2021

As part of the meeting, the Cebu delivery team was invited to participate in the Embassy’s ceremonial turnover of the GFCP’s cornerstone outputs: The City Development Strategy (CDS) and Affordable Housing Strategy (AHS), along with their accompanying Executive Summary and a summary of the team’s findings in the earlier Social Situation and Impact Analysis (SSIA). These outputs resulted from close coordination with city officials and technical assistance from the Cebu delivery team. Together, these reports serve as strategic-level documents guiding Cebu City’s infrastructure and affordable housing development over the next 20 years, ensuring the inclusion and participation of all stakeholder groups in that period. The Office of the Mayor expressed its gratitude to the Embassy and the GFCP for its technical assistance in the preparation of these reports, as well as enthusiasm for the work that lay ahead to guide Cebu City into its future.

First in-person Technical Working Group meeting

To complete its deliverable outputs, the GFCP Cebu delivery team received the assistance from city officials through the Technical Working Group (TWG), designated by the city’s Mayor. From the TWG’s inception in September 2020, all meetings and coordination with the team has been remote. The Cebu delivery team took advantage of its visit to finally meet the stakeholders with whom it had worked closely with over the last two years by holding its first in-person TWG meeting in Cebu City Hall. The Cebu delivery team, FCDO, and TWG members were pleased to have the opportunity to meet the people with whom they had developed close professional relationships through web cameras and telephone calls. The meeting’s attendees revisited the cornerstone outputs that were near completion and decided on final steps towards their implementation and incorporation in the city’s planning documents.

In-person Technical Working Group meeting. Source: GFCP Cebu City Intervention, 2021

 

 

 

Architect Ann Marie Cuizon-Yap of City Planning and Development Office (second from the left), a key contact throughout the intervention, with Allen Williams (second from the right), Royston Brockman (right), and Benny Adapon (left) of GFCP Cebu delivery team. Source: GFCP Cebu City Intervention, 2021

Resolutions to endorse the City Development Strategy (CDS) and Affordable Housing Strategy (AHS)

To ensure the implementation of the GFCP’s outputs, it is crucial to secure resolutions from the government bodies endorsing the reports for implementation. The team was grateful to be invited to an in-person meeting by Cebu City’s Local Housing Board (LHB), the main institutional body responsible for setting out the city’s housing policies, regulations, and guidelines, as the AHS was tabled as an item on the LHB’s meeting agenda. The team’s Team Leader and Affordable Housing Specialist introduced and discussed the objectives, approach, and proposed measures set out in the Affordable Housing Strategy and responded to questions from the members of the LHB. After their presentation, the LHB moved to pass and confirmed the resolution endorsing the AHS for implementation, a landmark milestone for the project.

The resolution for the CDS, which was coordinated and completed remotely prior to the visit, was passed and endorsed by the Cebu City Development Council (CCDC), the government body responsible for setting the city’s direction for planning and development, including representation from the city’s 80 barangays (local administrative units). During the visit, the team met with the CCDC focal point persons to discuss the next steps for implementation.

Excerpt of CCDC resolution. Source: Cebu City government, 2021

The two resolutions, endorsing both the CDS and the AHS by these two government bodies, are important achievements, recommending the outputs for approval by the Cebu City Council. Approval by the Cebu City Council is a crucial step to ensure output implementation and necessary to achieve project’s intended impact.

Site visits around Cebu City

With the crucial assistance of the Cebu City government and the local NGO partners, the team organised visits around Cebu City to further familiarise with Cebu’s history, geography, social and economic context, as well as contemplate on further needed actions to augment and complement its work for the last over two years.