MANILA, Philippines – The Legazpi City government bagged an award from the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA) and the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) for efforts to make the city a top destination for conventions, among other programs.
Nine entities from national and local governments that went through a governance reform program by the ISA presented significant achievements in their programs and projects last Wednesday, November 22.
Through the Performance Governance System (PGS), participating agencies designed and implemented strategies to make projects sustainable in the long run. (READ: #HackSociety 2017: 5 ideas for better governance in the PH)
For 9 years, Legazpi has been part of the program with the vision of making the city part of the top 5 convention destinations in Luzon by 2020. The ISA gave the Legazpi City government a Gold Trailblazer Award for its achievements toward that goal.
According to Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal, the city is now a “favorite convention destination” by many organizations.
“Almost all organizations went to Legazpi [to hold their events]. We have an average of 85 [organizations from different parts of the country]. We almost broke the one million record for tourism arrivals,” he told Rappler.
For the past years, the number of tourist arrivals in the city has been increasing. In 2015, there were almost a million visitors, higher than the 700,000 in 2014 and 579,470 in 2013.
In 2015, Legazpi hosted several big gatherings such as the 1st International Convention on Children and Family, the National Information and Communication Technology Summit, and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Adventure and Travel Conference.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) also found that Bicol had the highest growth rate among regions in the country in 2015 – 8.4% – as investments poured into major economic hubs Naga and Legazpi.
The mayor attributes these successes to the presence of infrastructure built to accommodate more people – including the Legazpi Airport, hotels, and major malls.
Despite this, Rosal said there is still work to be done.
“What is important now is sustainability. We know that many more [people] will come that is why we need [to build up] the branding of the city,” he said.
Rosal added that any reform in governance is a challenge but “it will pay off” in the end.
“There are a lot of challenges but it was never really a hindrance because we do believe that the system now is in place. We have now the collaborative efforts of everyone, [even] from the lowest member of the local government of Legazpi. And really, it’s a shared responsibility,” he said. (READ: ‘Good governance begins with us’)
Rosal noted that maintaining focus is more important than executing several projects that lead nowhere.
“‘Wag natin madaliin. ‘Wag nating pilitin. (Let’s not hurry. Let’s not force it.) What is important is how we are able to accept and embrace the system [and] what will be used in the continuance of the program. It’s not how fast. It’s the quality,” he added.
Recently, Legazpi City was recognized for earning the interior department’s 2017 Seal of Good Local Governance, among 448 other LGUs.
Aside from Legazpi, the following also participated in the ISA’s governance program:
- Navotas City Hospital
- Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center
- University of San Agustin
- Philippine Veterans Affairs Office
- Municipality of Samal, Bataan
- Municipality of Pilar, Bataan
- Municipality of Orani, Bataan
- Department of Public Works and Highways
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