Valenzuela City is emerging as a new model city of good governance among foreign governments, turning itself as one of the favorite study tour destinations for both local and foreign government units in the country today.
Officials from the Government of Nepal and Kingdom of Bhutan recently paid a visit to Valenzuela City to assess and customize the host city’s multi-awarded governance platform, in the context of each of the country’s existing socio-political condition.
The Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA) organized the first study tour of five top officials of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal last May 28.
The delegation was consisted of Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development joint secretary Reshmi Raj Pandey, undersecretaries Purushottam Nepal and Narahari Sharma; Ministry of Urban Development joint secretary Bhupal Baral; and state's Department of Urban Development and Building Construction Senior divisional engineer Rabi Shah.
According to CDIA program coordinator Bernhard Dohle, the Government of Nepal is in a process of preparing itself for a state restructuring by creating a federal state with strong local governments. It has started to work on proposals to define the “Local Self-Government within the future Federal structure.”
Valenzuela City staged presentations and panel discussions to address the delegates’ inquiries on local governance and flood control management.
The Nepalese officials were toured at The City Hall, the Wawang Pulo Floodgate, and the City External Services Office (CESO) compound; and were brought to the city’s flood control project site, escorted by Engr. Melanio Vergino.
Just a few days after the Nepalese visit, some Bhutanese government officials also came to Valenzuela City for another study tour, headed by their Governor of District Administration Tshering Kezang.
Mayor REX Gatchalian remarked in his speech that he is glad that Valenzuela City is starting to become a study tour destination for foreign officials. “We must be doing something good that you have decided to look at us,” he said.
The June 2 visit of the Bhutanese officials was initiated by the Small Enterprises Research and Development Foundation (SERDEF), an entrepreneurial organization.
SERDEF was particularly interested in Valenzuela City’s Simple and Speedy Public Service Program (3S for Public Service), which was developed by former mayor, now 1st District Representative WIN Gatchalian. Its new version – the 3S Plus, was presented to the delegates to showcase the 3S platform with stronger emphasis on utilizing technological innovation.
In a panel discussion, Mayor REX was asked of his management style as the chief executive of the local government. He shared, “From investments, permits, disaster management, big and small details in Valenzuela City, we try to keep the bureaucracy flat; meaning, the department heads can come to see me anytime and we can call each other every minute if we have to. But, it making things official, it’s really centralized.”
Apart from the officials of Bhutan and Nepal, Valenzuela City also accommodated visitors from Vinzons, Camarines Norte and Sariaya, Quezon on May 27 and June 4 respectively. The local guests were both toured at the Valenzuela City Command Center, Valenzuela City Central Warehouse, and Disaster Preparedness Office, which are all housed at the CESO compound.