EU, New Zealand offer help to treat Manila water, improve disaster response

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 14 2019 04:11 PM

MANILA - Envoys from the European Union and New Zealand on Tuesday committed to help the Philippine capital improve its waste disposal system and disaster response programs.

The European Union has been involved in the rehabilitation of the Pasig River, and could help further by sharing its expertise on water treatment, Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen said during his meeting with Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.

The EU envoy invited Moreno to tour Europe where he could observe best practices in garbage collection, recycling of plastic, and traffic management, among others.

“I hope the mayor would bring that back to Manila and make Manila the best city in Asia,” said Jessen, the first European Union ambassador to pay a courtesy call on a Manila mayor.

New Zealand Ambassador David Strachan also met with Moreno to invite the capital’s disaster officials to a short course on disaster risk management.

“Sabi niya (Strachan) marami daw silang disasters, particularly earthquakes, sa New Zealand so meron silang knowledge and new technology that we can learn,” Moreno told reporters.

“He’s extending help to let our [disaster management] people to study here [in the Philippines] and also there [in New Zealand],” he said, noting that New Zealand would shoulder all costs.

New Zealand is the 10th country to send its envoy to the Manila City Hall since Moreno took office.

The United States earlier offered to design Manila’s traffic, solid waste management, flooding and social services systems to turn the Philippine capital into a smart city.

The United Kingdom said it would open education assistance and exchange programs to allow students of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila and Universidad de Manila to study in Britain.

Japan’s envoy said they would help boost tourism in Intramuros, while Panama’s ambassador pushed for a cultural exchange program with Manila.

Israel committed to extend educational assistance to the Rosauro Almario Elementary school and the Tondo High School, 2 schools they decided to adopt after Israeli Ambassador Rafael Harpaz’s meeting with Moreno.

Singapore promised to share its technical expertise in digital governance and traffic and sewage management by sending Moreno to a conference in the city state.

The Manila mayor is also expected to travel to Moscow in October to discuss local governance, traffic management and energy efficiency solutions with his Russian counterparts.

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the Philippines, Dr. Abdullah Al Bussairy also visited Moreno earlier this month to congratulate the actor-turned-politician’s success.

“Ang suwerte namin na bawat bansa na pumupunta dito through their ambassadors are really offering assistance,” Moreno told reporters.

Most of the ambassadors said they wanted to help the capital of the country, he said.

“Sa personal kong assessment, talagang kailangan namin ng tulong. Maybe they heeded our call for people to participate,” he said.

The inspiration Moreno has given to the city of Manila is impressive, the European union envoy said.

“We go where the action is. As long as you (Moreno) are trying to do the right thing, you have our support,” Jessen said.