By Erma Edera
The United States and Singapore offered assistance to turn Manila into “smart city” after they sent their ambassadors to the nation’s capital on Thursday.
“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,” Singaporean Ambassador to the Philippines Gerard Ho told Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso during his courtesy call on the city chief executive on Thursday.
The ambassador’s visit fell on the eve of Singapore’s 54th National Day.
The envoy also offered to fund a “study trip” where the mayor could learn more about first-world policies and practices.
“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?” Ho stated.
Moreno told Ho that one of his dreams for Manila is to address flooding problems in the capital.
“We are trying to utilize our creeks because in the modern world these are assets, but here, nobody wants to live there. Our roads are full of water but our creeks are not. There must be something wrong. I need a thorough study, no development yet,” Moreno told Ho.
“I have a dream to really address flooding in the city… I think in a million light years we will arrive there, but with your help (Singapore) we will get there,” Moreno said.
On the other hand, US embassy officials also visited the mayor last August 7 to offer help in flood monitoring and prevention program in Manila.
“I was asked what I wanted to prioritize. Sabi ko, ‘Once and for all, please study Manila geographically with regard to flooding problems,” Moreno said.
“Magkaroon ng drainage plans, catch basins and everything that will address the problem,” he added.