Cities undertake COVID-19 response and recovery planning with the help of USAID
USAID initiated city-specific response and recovery planning in April 2020 to help its eight Cities Development Initiative (CDI) partner cities in the Philippines address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During an online session, more than 80 representatives from the city governments of Batangas, Cagayan De Oro, General Santos, Iloilo, Legazpi, Puerto Princesa, Tagbilaran, and Zamboanga gained more insights as to how to effectively employ response and recovery planning as a governance tool to determine the right approaches to manage risks.
The cities were provided with city-level COVID-19 forecasts for data analysis and planning. Director Lilian Salonga of the Department of Trade and Industry-Competitiveness Bureau, Director Anna Liza Bonagua of the Department of Interior and Local Government-Bureau of Local Government Development, and Mr. Edwin Glindro of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry shared national government and business groups’ responses to local challenges.
The roundtable discussion was followed by a series of city-specific sessions with a wider participation of stakeholders from the academe, tourism, health, and environment sectors.
Through the online sessions, USAID provided guidance in the analysis of local response capacity, evidence-based identification and categorization of risks, and a focused risk mapping and response. With the collaboration of various stakeholders, the cities will be able to produce response and recovery plans that will protect citizens from the impacts of COVID-19, upgrade the local government’s response capability for the pandemic, and chart a path toward economic progress in the new normal scenario.
USAID assisted the CDI cities in the risk assessment and local capacity analysis and the formulation of strategies and interventions. USAID also provided inputs for monitoring and reporting which were derived from online surveys, key informant interviews, and focus group discussions.
By August 2020, the CDI cities have completed their COVID-19 Response and Economic Recovery Plans. The technical working groups of the local government units conducted a series of online consultations with various stakeholders to present and gather feedback about the plans. Strategies include tax relief for businesses, support to micro, small, and medium enterprises and displaced workers, and alternative livelihood to workers who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, among others.