Editorial: Smart city dream

·2 min read

The work for the Rama administration’s achieving its vision for Cebu City to become like Singapore has begun, and the mayor’s “investment begging” resulted in pledges of P1.3 billion from businessmen for the completion of the Cebu City Medical Center and construction of multiple medium-rise buildings that will house displaced informal settlers.

These funding commitments are “concrete pledges,” and the projects will be realized, Rama’s team assured the public.

It is good to hear from Mayor Michael Rama’s team that his administration is really working to fulfill its vision for the city.

Becoming like Singapore is no easy task. Among 118 cities in the world in 2021, the Smart City Index (SCI) named Singapore as the smartest city. The thriving city-state also claimed the same feat in years 2019 and 2020, according to the SCI that is published by the Swiss business school Institute of Management Development and the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

What is a smart city? It is a government unit that makes use of available information and communication technologies (ICT) to increase operational efficiency, share information with the public and improve the quality of government services and citizen welfare (techtarget.com).

Cebu City Councilor Edgardo “Jaypee” Labella II has said in a privilege speech that Singapore is one of the advanced ICT markets in the world; for the city to achieve an edge in ICT, the neophyte lawmaker wants the city to have a steady internet connection and he wants it to start at the City Hall. “How can we implement faster connections and bandwidth reliable internet throughout Cebu City, if we cannot achieve our goal in our own building?” he said.

Aside from pursuing infrastructure and solving the flooding problem, the city government must indeed pursue a steady, reliable internet connection as this would serve as a springboard for a thriving digital economy in the city.

Last year, the City Council passed an ordinance establishing internet access points funded by the city government. As of July 2021, the City had established 20 internet access points in different barangays. Whatever happened to this initiative? If there are still active internet access points in the city’s barangays, it would still be useless if the connection here was unstable. And it would not be so smart to continue such an initiative because it would be an obvious waste of money.