Malolos is the Smart Cultural Heritage City of the North

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CITY OF MALOLOS–Adapting to modern digital technology urban governance to ease the daily lives of the people while strongly working to continue the preservation and promotion of its heritage and cultural significance and pride–the  Barasoain Church where the Malolos Congress which crafted the Malolos Constitution was held, the House of the Women of Malolos and other ancestral houses of the First Philippine Republic, the food delicacies, etc., this Bulacan capital city now gears to become the “Smart Cultural Heritage City of the North” by 2034. 

The City of Malolos now traverses the road map to become the “Smart Cultural Heritage City of the North” as it leads other primary cities in eighty provinces in the country in becoming smart cities through their own respective economic, cultural, historical and heritage landscape prowess and capabilities.  

Julius Caesar Sicat Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region III Director in a recent Smart Cities Convention and launch of Smart and Creative Communities Network hosted by the Development Academy of the Philippines Center for Strategic Futures (DAP-CSF) held in Makati City, hailed the city government of Malolos under the leadership of Mayor Christian Natividad for taking the challenge and leading all the rest of the other cities in the eighty provinces n the country in working towards to become smart cities. 

Malolos, he said, known for its historical, heritage and cultural significance and contributions to the country will certainly become the pilot provincial level Smart City among Smart communities through digital and modern hub that will be known as the “Smart Cultural Heritage City of the North” in 2034 or within ten years time.   

According to Sicat, through urban governance, the Smart City Malolos must be innovative, cooperative in transforming  communities that use information and communication technologies and other means to address local issues and improve the quality of life and competitiveness in economic, social and environment of the citizens today and in the next generation. 

Majah-Lea V. Ravago, President and CEO of DAP said Malolos can achieve its smart city goals and objectives by being the beneficiary agency of the pilot implementation of DAP-CSF’s Linking Innovation Partners towards Accelerated Development in the Philippines (LIPAD PH) Program. 

Under the LIPAD program, Ravago explained, a city or a community is smart when it increases the pace at which it provides social, economic and environmental sustainability outcomes and responds to challenges like climate change, rapid population growth and political and economic instability by fundamentally improving hot it engages society. 

A Smart City also applies collaborative leadership methods, works across disciplines and city systems and uses data information and modern technologies to deliver better services and quality of life to those within it, without the unfair disadvantage of others or degradation of the natural environment. 

This ingenious initiative aims to unite diverse sectors in a collaborative effort to build smart and creative communities across the country and lead communities in becoming Smart Cities. 

The DAP CSF LIPAD PH Program is strategically designed to instigate transformation at the grassroots level, leveraging the authority and influence of Local Government Units (LGUs) to catalyze positive change in society. By empowering LGUs to take the lead in driving innovation and progress within their communities, LIPAD PH aims to foster a bottom-up approach that ensures sustainable development and inclusive growth across nations. 

According to Ravago, the City of Malolos LGU has to navigate the road map with key stakeholders in a concerted effort to implement its local development agenda embodied and anchored in Smart City Indicators and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) embedded in the DAP-developed Smart City Hexagon Tool. 

Natividad, who accepted the road map and the challenge to become the “Smart Cultural Heritage City of the North” by 2034 and the first Smart city in 80 provinces, expressed the city’s unwavering commitment to advancing initiatives in building a smarter and more sustainable city. 

“Our dedication to this cause stems from our firm belief in harnessing technology and innovation to enhance the quality of life for all residents. As a city, we recognize the importance of embracing smart solutions to address urban challenges such as traffic congestion, environmental sustainability and efficient resource management. We are committed to levering the latest technologies and collaborating with stakeholders and investing resources to achieve our smart city objectives. We understand that the journey towards becoming a smart city requires diligence, collaboration and adaptability. Therefore, we pledge to work closely with all our stakeholders including government agencies, private sector partners, academic institutions and community and organizations to ensure the success of our initiatives. By prioritizing smart city development, we aim to create a vibrant, inclusive and resilient urban environment that enhances the well being and prosperity of all our citizens,” Natividad said. 

Initial big steps of Malolos

The city through different ordinances and supported by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines protect, preserve and promote all its historical, heritage and cultural sites–the Barasoain Church, the Casa Real, the Malolos Cathedral, the ancestral houses that served as government offices during the Malolos First Philippine Republic, the Women of Malolos House, including its own very unique “karatig”commuter jeepnetys. 

Also, Natividad said, Malolos has already initially launched innovations and transformation in different fields and aspects, from technology, agriculture, education environment and the most recent are the current projects on tap water quality management and the tidal flooding solutions project. 

According to the mayor, at least in Bulacan, Malolos initiated the usage of the QR Code in records and identification programs of the city government. 

In terms of rice yield and production, Malolos was previously 23rd out of the 24 towns and cities in Bulacan because of the lowest yield per hectare. 

But because of interventions and smart solutions like dialogues with the experts who are the farmers themselves, in just two years, the city became number one in yield per hectare, Natividad said. 

In terms of education, the mayor boasted that from being the Top 1 LGU in the country with the highest dropout and incomplete rates in 2010, Malolos in 2023 was awarded by the Department of Education as the Top 5 Most Literate LGU in the country.

Malolos, the hub of Marcelo H. Del Pilar National High School, has the biggest and most populated national high school in Luzon because of its 22,000 student population addressed the challenges in quality education because of surging students per classroom through construction of more public schools in the villages. 

Natividad said the three shifting classes of students with 1:98 ratio per classroom was addressed and is now reduced to the ideal 1:45 because of the numbers of newly constructed schools with a large number of classrooms.  

Today, the city has approved an ordinance requiring developers and real estate companies to construct their own respective water impounding areas before the city government issued them  a development permit as one way of protecting the rivers and waterways of the city. 

Malolos will also launch the “Smart Water” project wherein the city will mandate all water suppliers to produce potable tap waters particularly in all public schools, public places. “Ang dapat na iinumin mo ay potable, isang pindot mo lang ma-tetest na natin iyong water na iniinom mo kung safe o hindi. Smart approach for the quality of life for our constituents,” the mayor said. 

Malolos now has also an ongoing nature based tidal flooding mitigation project to finally put an end to the decades of high tide flooding in the city. 

The DOST-DAP-CSF Smart City project is parallel to the nation’s aspiration to achieve a “Matatag, Maginhawa at Panatag na buhay” by 2040, a resilient and prosperous nation through the LIPAD PH Program.

Sta. Rosa Lgauna was where the Smart City Assessment and Road Map Development Program was first implemented by DAP CSF in 2022. 

DOST Bulacan Science Research Specialist Michael Carlo Mariano said the Smart City transformation is a project of the DOST in collaboration with DAP for at least 80 provinces in the country and initially. Malolos, he said, is the first to respond and take the challenge. 

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