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Legazpi City signs MOU as partner city of USAID's projects

LEGAZPI — The top officials of this city, Albay province and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Wednesday led the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) after Legazpi City has been selected as one of the partner cities of USAID-funded development projects.
"Today marks the day that Legazpi City joins our USAID partner cities," said Dr. Susan K. Brems, mission director of USAID-Philippines.
She said the MOU would form the basis of the partnership "for us to pursue together inclusive and resilient economic growth."
Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara, Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal and Brems signed the MOU to start the implementation of development projects to hasten urban development in secondary cities outside of Metro Manila such as Legazpi City.
Brems said that the MOU was an "expression of solidarity of the American people" whose taxes contribute to development assistance elsewhere in the world.
"Under the administration of President (Rodrigo) Duterte, we have reaffirmed and validated the framework for our bilateral assistance," she said.
She added this means adopting and focusing on the "priorities of the Duterte administration," said Brems.
Brems explained this was the reason why the development project was being referred to as the "partnership for growth with equity".
Signing of the MOU formally makes Legazpi City part of a five-year flagship project of USAID in the Philippines called "Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity" or SURGE.
Jeremy Gustafson, director of the USAID Office of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, in a multisectoral forum held on Tuesday in this city, said the component activities of the project include such areas as climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.
He said SURGE falls under USAID's Cities Development Initiatives or CDI, whose approach was to "provide a multi-faceted package of assistance under the broader Partnership for Growth".
USAID believes that Legazpi City is in the "forefront of progress" with regards to disaster risk reduction and the building up of resilience,Brems said.
She said this was significant since the Philippines was particularly vulnerable to what she referred to as "climate insult," whether it's a typhoon, earthquake, flood or drought.
Bichara said the SURGE project was a collaboration along a path that Albay has already started and which would conform to his vision of Albay moving as one with no one being left behind.
"Everybody should be able to feel the progress that we are making and that the development (projects) will make a difference in the lives of every Albayano," he added.
Rosal said the MOU signing ceremony attested to the US and Philippines' "long and enduring friendship and solidarity".
He said it also affirmed a "lasting partnership and commitment to the improvement and betterment of the world we live in". (PNA)
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Last Modified: 2017-Jun-04 23.01.18 UTC+0800