Top choice for study tour

HAVING earned a good reputation after garnering awards and citations from numerous credible organizations such as the Department of Interior and Local Government, World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, to name a few, the city of Valenzuela has become a top choice for study tour of other local government units in the country.

Just recently, three LGUs, namely, the cities of Iloilo, Batangas and Cagayan de Oro, which were recipients of the Investment Enabling Environment (INVEST) project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAid), were the latest visitors in Valenzuela where they studied its investment promotion and eco-nomic development programs.

The two-year INVEST-USAid project, it was learned, envisions developing model cities that can inspire other LGUs to seek higher levels of economic performance.

According to INVEST Project chief of Party Ofelia Templo, the three localities were chosen among first class cities in the country with strong economic and political leadership and with great potentials to become an economic hub.

Valenzuela, Ms. Templo says, was chosen as one of the venue cities for the study particularly because of its streamlined and automated business processes.

Obtaining a business permit in Valenzuela only takes about 15 minutes with the three simple and easy steps under the 3S (Simple, Speed and Service Excellence) in Public Service Program which en-tails a post-audit system on other related permits in starting a business.

Mayor Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian, together with the key finance offices heads in the city, welcomed the delegation composed of the three LGU’s chief executives and its finance committee members as he was doubly elated by the way the city was chosen as one of the cities for study.

The city chief executive toured them around the City Hall Complex especially at the city’s Finance Center where all business-related offices are housed in close proximity to each other for ease of transaction and where they observe business permit and licensing transactions and the Geographic Information System (GIS) which aids both the city and the constituents in the management of their real property taxes.

“It is flattering to know that our efforts of making our city conducive to investment are being recognized by international agencies that are experts on tracing best practices on economic development initia-tives such as the USAID,” Mayor Gatchalian says.

He then presented before them the city’s unique experience in implementing automated and stream-lined business processes in a fo-rum jointly organized by Invest USAID, DILG, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (German Agency for International Cooperation) or GIZ, and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

The benchmarking tour opens opportunity for further future collaborations between Valenzuela and the three cities. Relatedly, sister-hood agreements which Valenzuela City enters into with other LGUs are particularly aimed at fostering meaningful and technical exchange and cooperation for sus-tainable development, trade and investment, tourism, information technology, human development, as well as, culture and the arts.

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