Binay Secures WB's Pledge of Support for Risk Reduction and Urban Development

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar C. Binay has returned from his visit to the United States fully satisfied with the results of his talks with World Bank experts, top US government officials, policy think tanks, American business leaders and the Filipino community.

Upon invitation of the US Congress, he also attended the yearly National Prayer Breakfast where US President Barack Obama served as guest speaker, and where he met US Vice President Joseph Biden and other foreign dignitaries.

The vice president keynoted the disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM), and urban development sessions of the World Bank Sustainable Development Network (SDN) annual meeting, where he received assurance of the Bank's support for the country's programs in disaster risk reduction and urban development.

Binay also noted the concern of US authorities over the human trafficking situation in the Philippines, and how the country's performance could impact on US aid under the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). The Vice President, however, assured the US government that the Philippine is committed to end human trafficking.

At the SDN meeting, Binay discussed Makati's experiences and strategies to adapt to and mitigate disaster risks in view of the city's concern on growing urbanization as well as his current plans as housing czar. Binay is the chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the former mayor of Makati, one of the most climate resilient cities in Asia according to World Bank.

"I was honored to learn that they (World Bank officials) normally cite Makati as a role model in urban development when talking to other developing countries," Binay said.

He also shared the possibility of scaling up the "Makati experience" to the national level. He guaranteed the World Bank that the Aquino administration is committed to integrating DRRM programs in its national development agenda.

"For that reason, they assured us of continued support for our programs and projects related to disaster reduction and management, and urban development," Binay said.

The SDN forum serves as a venue for its members worldwide to exchange ideas and knowledge on economic growth strategies that are sustainable, environment-friendly and socially acceptable.

In a separate meeting, the vice president urged the World Bank to assist countries like the Philippines in tap their renewable energy (RE) potential and redirect its support for resources of polluting energy such as fossil fuels.

"There's a way to address energy poverty in a carbon-constrained world. …