San Juan to build socialized high-rise, seeks smart city status

Cathy Yang, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 21 2019 03:11 PM

San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora sits in his office in city hall following an interview with ANC's The Boss. ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- San Juan City is building a high-rise socialized housing, a first in the country as it transforms the commercial center at the heart of the capital into a smart city, Mayor Francis Zamora said Monday.

The two condominium towers, both 22 floors high, will "empower" the poor by giving them a high altitude view of the city that was only accessible to the rich, Zamora said in an exclusive interview with ANC's The Boss.

The towers will be built with the National Housing Authority. There will be 396 units, each 29 square meters big. Building vertically is also apt for San Juan, which has a smaller land area compared to its Metro Manila neighbors, he said.

"Kahit mahirap kayo, kayo naman dudungaw sa mga mayayaman (Even if you are poor, you can literally look down on the rich)," Zamora said, quoting his father, who referenced an 11-story residential building.

"It was his way of empowering our constituents, especially those who may not be too well-off in life," he said.

Zamora said he planned to set up "mesh" points to provide internet coverage in the city. A mesh is a device that bounced data signal. San Juan is the first city in the country to offer free public WiFi with the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

The city is also launching an app that will allow the public to pay taxes and do other transactions on their mobile devices.

"This is part of digitalizing local governance... This allows you to transact everything through your phone," he said.