After the earthquake that devastated Bohol island in 2013, the capital city Tagbilaran continues to move forward to a full recovery as it became a recipient of the Cities Development Initiative (CDI) of the United States Agency International Development (USAID).
In a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by Mission Director Gloria Steele and Tagbilaran City Mayor John Geesnell Yap, the USAID will help in strengthening the economic competitiveness and resilience of the second-tier cities outside Metro Manila through the CDI.
The CDI seeks to advance the upturn of these cities as engines of inclusive growth while maintaining environmental sustainability and resilience. The USAID also aims to provide a range of technical assistance in economic growth, health, energy, environment, governance, and education.
In his keynote message, US Ambassador Philip Goldberg said the American Government the MOU will add to the development momentum in Bohol as he added that he is very impressed with how Boholanos came together to rise above the tragedy.
The 2013 quake in Bohol, which registered at magnitude 7.2, destroyed age-old churches in the island and left at least 222 dead. About 1,000 people were also reported injured in the incident.
Mayor Yap, in response, said the MOU makes a big impact in Tagbilaran in the sense that many projects will be funded, especially those that are geared towards the tourism campaign and promotions.
The CDI is a new concept emerging from Partnership for growth (PFG) between the Philippine and US governments that started in November 2011. Its goals focus on development interventions, improving regulatory quality, strengthening the rule of law and anti-corruption measures, improving fiscal performance, and promoting human capacity development.
“Weak governance leads to miscalculated public investments and increases costs of doing business,” Ambassador Goldberg said.
Tagbilaran is the fifth CDI grantee in the Philippines. The concept was pilot-tested in 2012 in Batangas, Cagayan de Oro, and Iloilo; and Zamboanga City in 2014.