Manila bags US, Singapore support to turn capital into 'smart city'

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 08 2019 01:03 PM

MANILA - The United States and Singapore sent envoys to Manila City Hall this week to offer their assistance in the capital’s modernization and development programs.

Singapore committed to share its technical expertise in traffic and sewage management, and digital governance with Manila, Singaporean Ambassador to the Philippines Gerard Ho told reporters after his courtesy call on Mayor Isko Moreno, Thursday.

Ho, who met with Moreno on the eve of Singapore’s 54th National Day, offered to fund a “study trip” to the city state where the Manila mayor could learn more about first-world policies and practices.

“We are ready to share. Ask us if you need any help. We have areas of expertise in traffic management, sewages, but you have to see what works for you because you cannot blindly apply,” Ho, the envoy of Southeast Asia’s richest nation, told Moreno during the meeting.

A similar offer was given to Jakarta before, he said.

"If you have done something before and it seems to work, and you want to be a good neighbor and friend to your region, isn’t it good to share these things to everyone?" he said.


Singapore’s commitment comes a day after officials from the US Embassy visited Moreno and offered to help the capital’s flood monitoring and prevention program.

"I was asked what I wanted to prioritize. Sabi ko, ‘Once and for all, please, study Manila geographically with regard to flooding problems," Moreno told reporters.

"So that once and for all, magkaroon ng drainage plans, catch basins and everything that will address the problem," he said.

US officials also backed Manila’s efforts to turn the capital into a “smart city,” Moreno’s chief of staff Cesar Chavez told ABS-CBN News.

“We were given options by the US Embassy Commercial Section if we want a total design for a smart city or a piece of it,” Moreno’s chief of staff Cesar Chavez told ABS-CBN News.

“Our inclination is to request for a total design... traffic, solid waste management, flooding, social services,” he said.

The city is also looking into a Manila Residents ID system, he said.

The design is expected to be completed in 4-6 months, while its approval would take an additional 3 months so implementation might happen next year, he said.


Business tycoon and PLDT-Smart CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan earlier said his telecommunications company would provide closed-circuit television cameras for “all parts” of capital city.

PLDT-Smart would also help with the creation of Manila’s “operations center” on the city hall’s 4th level, he said.

Pangilinan also committed to fund the construction of a fountain near the city hall, Moreno said.