Top 1 Model City of the Philippines
Bacolod City, also known as the City of Smiles, was recently named as the Top Philippine Model City of the Philippines from among the 145 cities in the country. She gained this recognition for being the most livable urban center nationwide, given by The Manila Times, one of the most respected broadsheets and the country’s oldest newspaper at 119 years old.
Bacolod was chosen as the No. 1 Model City among a shortlist of 37 select cities. Bacolod was the only Visayan city left when the list was trimmed down to 13 finalists.
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia led city officials in accepting the trophy for Bacolod City at the awarding ceremony held at the New World Manila Bay Hotel in Manila last May 11, 2017. Joining Leonardia were Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, Councilor Em Ang, Councilor Dindo Ramos, City Administrator John Orola, City Planning and Development Office head Mary Jean Ramos, City Development Council vice chairman George Zulueta, and acting PIO head Danny Dangcalan.
Among the 13 finalist-cities, Bacolod was the only city with the top three officials present: congressman, mayor, and vice mayor.
“This credible and prestigious award validates what Bacolod is now. This inspires us even more to promote a culture of excellence, not just for contests like these, but to cultivate a high sense of responsibility in our people,” Leonardia said. “We will not allow mediocrity,” he stressed.
For his part, Gasataya said in a statement, “Bacolod City is indeed not just ‘back on track but back on top. We assure everyone of our continuous cooperation for our city in order to address concerns that need immediate solution.”
Meanwhile. Familiaran said, “The award proves that Bacolod is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Indeed, Bacolod is back on track.”
Philippine Model City Finalists
Rounding the Final 13 in The Philippine Model Cities list are (in alphabetical order): Batangas, Davao, General Santos, Laoag, Mandaluyong, Naga, Parañaque, Quezon, San Fernando, Sta. Rosa, Tagaytay, and Zamboanga. These cities also received special awards based on several social indicators in the criteria.
The cities were rated on the following criteria:
1. Peace and Security
2. Rest and Recreation
3. Research and Development
4. Health and Education
5. Clean and Green
6. Road and Home
7. Livelihood and Employment
8. Youth and Elders
9. Tax and Services
10. Emergency/ Disaster Preparedness
The contest was judged by prominent Filipino urban planner Felino Palafox Jr., founder and managing partner of Palafox Associates; lawyer Lea Roque, head of Tax Advisory and Compliance Division of P & A Grant Thornton; Rosemarie Bosch-Ong, director of Wilcon Depot; and Marife Zamora, chairman of Convergys Philippines Services Corporation.
Speakers at the awarding included Palafox, Roque, Vickram Cuttaree, program leader for Sustainable Development of World Bank Philippines; and Michael McCullough, managing director of KMC MAG Group.
About the Philipine Model Cities
The Manila Times’ “Philippine Model Cities” is a forum that aims to recognize effective and innovative local governance that improves the quality of life and make local business environments more friendly. The forum touches on urban planning and sustainability development for the Philippines that would make cities environmentally sustainable and conducive to work-life balance.
PREVIOUS SIMILAR AWARDS for BACOLOD
Bacolod City had also won similar awards in the past, and recently – all under the leadership of Leonardia.
In 2008, MoneySense magazine chose Bacolod as the “Best Place to Live in the Philippines.” In 2012, popular blog ikwaderno.wordpress.com named Bacolod as the “Most Livable Philippine City.” Early this year, another social media group, The Conyo Times, ranked Bacolod as “The Best City to Live in the Philippines.” Likewise, in 2007, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry chose Bacolod as the “Most Business Friendly City in the Philippines.”