Ormoc City is developing its Resilient and Green Recovery (RGR) Plan that would help the city build back better, safer, and greener through holistic mechanisms that address climate challenges and COVID-19 pandemic’s socio-economic impacts together.

The plan aims to take stock of and harmonize the city’s existing and new projects and programs directed to propel social protection, environmental sustainability, and economic stability amidst climate risks and the current pandemic. The RGR plan supports and strengthens the city’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan, Comprehensive Development Plan, and the Local Climate Action Plan. Resilient and Green Recovery initiatives identified in the RGR plan will also inform COVID-19 RGR policy advocacy, both at the local and national levels.

The development of the Ormoc City RGR Plan is led by a technical working group (TWG) composed of technical staff and political leads of the city and is supported by the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), and UN-Habitat through the Building Climate Resiliency through Urban Plans and Designs (BCRUPD) project.

To facilitate the development of the RGR plan, a two-day, hybrid workshop was held last June 17 and 18, 2021, and was attended by the Social, Environmental, Infrastructure and Economic clusters of the city. The workshop provided an avenue for the TWG to gain inputs and insights on RGR from UN-Habitat, Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Technical Assistance Movement for People and Environment, Inc. (TAMPEI).

Laids Cea from UN-Habitat Cities and Climate Change Initiative (CCCI), Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific provided the United Nations system framework and guidance on RGR. Cea presented the Response-Recovery-Sustainable Development Continuum as well as guiding principles on recovery and rehabilitation.

“Your recovery plan should be mindful of evidences from the past and scenarios of the future using data. We cannot plan for anything that we are not clear about.”

To provide inputs on the spatial planning process and identify entry points for mainstreaming RGR, Roland Dane Carreon from DHSUD Environmental, Land Use and Urban Planning and Development Bureau discussed the principles and concepts of land use planning and pandemics.

“COVID-19 changed the way how our cities and municipalities look. It made us realize the relevance of green spaces and parks, and it has heightened our consciousness of how we occupy space in relation to other people.”

Angela Mamuyac from DILG Bureau of Local Government Development provided a glimpse of DILG’s LGU Guide for Recovery and Rehabilitation from COVID-19, meant to serve as supplemental reference in preparing cities’ rehabilitation and recovery programs, and updating their medium- and long-term mandated plans.

To provide better context of the community profile, Aiah Santos from TAMPEI shared the results of the “Rapid Research on Impacts of COVID-19 on Urban Poor Communities” conducted in Ormoc City.

“The respondents envision a peaceful, clean and developed place. All people have stable and dependable livelihood and are living in a house and lot they own. There is an inclusive health service, especially for those considered as indigent. The people and government are prepared for disasters.”

The input presentations guided the TWG members during the workshop proper where they assessed the city’s baseline information, city development vision and respective mandates of different city offices; identified the different development gaps and entry points to resilient and green recovery. Through the BCRUPD project support, the city is looking forward to push this initiative further by using urban planning and design strategies down at the project level, and incorporate investment programming.

Ormoc City is one of the two Philippine cities supported by BCRUPD on Resilient and Green Recovery. BCRUPD is a capacity building project funded by the German government’s International Climate Initiative (IKI), and is being implemented UN-Habitat in partnership with Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, Climate Change Commission, Department of the Interior and Local Government, National Economic and Development Authority, and League of Cities of the Philippines.

Article originally posted on the Building Climate Resiliency through Urban Plans and Designs website.