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Breaking The Habit

Marikina: Trailblazing Smart and Safe Cities

A multi-awarded city, and the country’s shoe capital, Marikina is living proof of a holistic metropolitan dream. Its abundance of economic opportunities, combined with progressive culture, creates tremendous quality of life for its citizens. 

It all started in 1887 – the most significant year in Marikina’s history, when economic growth spiked as a result of its shoemaking industry

Over a hundred years later, Marikina now prides itself on being a topnotch urban location. It boasts of a competitive economy, and has recently been recognized for its local government’s responsiveness in terms of safety.

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Typhoon Ondoy and Lessons Learned

Of the many natural calamities our country has experienced, a typhoon named Ondoy was the one that taught Marikina its toughest lesson. The valley served as a catch basin for the downpour, making it ground zero for the disaster that cost the country over a billion dollars in damages, and immeasurable pain for the thousands of families affected.

Through the years, the Marikina City government has empowered its disaster management measures and flood mitigation systems. It now leaves no aspect open for such horrors to happen again.

Last year, a typhoon that struck Metro Manila led netizens to compare every city’s responsiveness, giving the highest praise to the local government of Marikina. The reaction of netizens were evident in a story that went viral

Good News: The Marikina City government has set up evacuation modular tents at Bulelak Covered Court, which currently…

Posted by Ysiash Thomas Aggabao Balisi on Sunday, August 12, 2018

All local government units (LGUs) are mandated by law to allocate 5% of their annual revenues to disaster risk reduction management. Marikina, makes sure 30% of that revenue goes to quick response funds, while 70% goes to equipment like tents, first-aid kits, etc.

The city has Rescue 161 for its disaster responsiveness, anti-flood projects spearheaded by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for river walls, and a system instituted to help its residents take immediate actions during such emergencies. 

Marikina 161 // Photo from Metro News Central

What Ondoy took away, the people of Marikina have turned into a chance for redemption. So when such calamities arrive, they are now prepared, and truly resilient to what may come their way.

#SanaAll: A Superstar LGU

All the city’s efforts have resulted in an announcement that Marikina will be the pilot city of the ‘Safe Philippines Project’ of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). 

This is under the Memorandum of Agreement between DILG and the LGU, signed October 20, 2019.

This project aims to diminish the city’s crime rate and improve its emergency response through modern information and communications technology. 

It promises the city command centers, CCTVs, computer-aided dispatch systems, digital radio handsets and more. These will only bolster the city’s disaster preparedness that has already received a lot of positive feedback.

Marikina City Control Center // Photo from GMA Network

Marikina’s local government didn’t stop there, it has also announced various development programs for its citizens. It pushes for a sustainable sports development program and more infrastructure projects that can make the city more livable. Included are renovation projects of the Marikina Hotel and the city’s Freedom Park.

A statement by Marikina City’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office Chief, Dave David wholly justifies the city’s emerging attitude towards the future. He said, “It was the partnership of the community and the city government. That is the secret to our resiliency.”

Ask your ordinary Marikeño, and they’ll echo this sentiment. It doesn’t hurt that they love their Mayor, Marcelino “Marcy” Teodoro, who’s serving his second term.

Yes, it takes a village, as the adage goes. But it never hurts to have competent leaders, effective systems in place, and a burning desire to improve one’s home.

Sulong, Marikina!

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