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By Mr. Reo Marquez

" old city, but of youthful outlook, Calbayog has no other way except to GO FORWARD!  That is the primary lesson taken from the CDS experience..."

Welcome to Calbayog, the City of many identities! Among these identities that we are proudly promoting at the moment is Calbayog being a CDS City.  There is nothing fancy with this identity that we can equate with the colorful Sarakiki-Kahiaraan Festival, or the grand beauty of our natural wonders.  Rather, this had to do with the honest work being done by the City Government in its effort to put into effect development and make Calbayog at par with the progressive cities of the country.

A manifestation that Calbayog is being noticed, the World Bank invited Mayor Mel Senen S. Sarmiento to a Mayors National Forum in Jakartca, Indonesia and had delivered a speech about Calbayogs CDS experience. 

The City of Calbayog had participated in a CDS Donors Forum.  Mayor Sarmiento and the rest of the CDS team presented all the CDS outputs and the proposed priority projects.  Booths had been provided for Calbayog City for the display of products, project proposals and other information about Calbayog.

So what is the CDS?

The City Development Strategy (CDS) is both a planning process and a partnership among individuals who wish to help evaluate and shape the future of every city.  Its objective is to guide the City to have direction thru Vision Mission Formulation.  Further,  it will give Local Government Units (LGUs) a clearer direction for economic development with the aim of creating more employment opportunities;  to develop a consensus building process to establish the citys priorities, strategies and actions; to assist local authorities outline their financing and investment strategies and actions; to assist local authorities outline their financing and investment strategies; and lastly, to build local capacity for more effective urban management.

CDS is guided by the following Principles:

1.       Livability  -  what can be done to ensure a healthy and dignified standard of living for the Citys residents?

2.       Competitiveness -  how can the cities be more competitive in the global economy?

3.       Bankability how can cities be more financially sustainable?  How can public-private sector partnership be promoted and/or enhanced?

4.       Good Governance how can a citys management be improved?  How can accountability, integrity and transparency be made an integral part of a citys management?

The process came into existence thru the World Bank which sponsored the application of the CDS in the Philippines by choosing 7 pilot cities. Since its effect is very much beneficial to LGUs, the World Bank coordination with the League of the Cities of the Philippines sponsored a CDS 2 process choosing only 31 cities all over the country to participate. Upon the assumption of Mayor Sarmiento, Calbayog as admitted to the CDS 2 community.  

Because of this great challenge, the City Government underwent a process which started thru a series of consultation participated by farmers, Fishermen, POs, NGOs, Businessmen, Local Religious Leaders, LGU Department Managers and the others private individuals whose specials calling to help shape the destiny of Calbayog. In-depth study of the real situation of the city, and comprehensive reporting, sharing and discussion with the others CDS cities and consultants were made. Because of the active participation of the City Mayor and the CDS team to all the CDS activities, and thru and untiring efforts contributed by the CPDO Staff and other local offices and the Calbayognons themselves, Calbayog was chosen to be one of the top 13 cities among the 31 CDS 2 cities.  This selection meant an opportunity to directly present plans and programs to donor communities thru a Donors Forum.

After the entire process, STRATEGIES PLANS & PROGRAMS will be presented to the people thru public hearing.  After which, the final CDS documents will be presented to the Sangguniang Panlungsod for adoption that will serve as the MASTERPLAN for Development of Calbayog for the next ten years.

As expected by all CDS cities, support from funding institutions will pour in.  With or without financial support from donor countries, Calbayog is very much blessed and thankful that thru the CDS process, real issues and concern were treated, strategies were formulated and program and projects for the benefits of the CALBAYOGNONS were prioritized.  At present all the projects of the city are based on the CDS principles thru the GO FORWARD Strategy.  An old city but of youthful outlook for the development, Calbayog has no other way except to GO FORWARD!  Thats the primary lesson taken from CDS experience.

About the author: MR. REO MARQUEZ is the Project Development Officer IV of the City Planning & Development Office (CPDO).  He can be reached at (055) 209-12-13.

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