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Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Chairperson and Vice President Jejomar C. Binay urged leaders of local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila to develop more public spaces, saying that "more public spaces mean better people's lives".
"The challenge is upon us to protect and improve on existing public spaces and to bring public-private partnership in developing new ones. We must continue to fight for their development and we need champions who can push to protect, create, and make useful such public places," emphasized VP Binay during the Interactive Conference on Public Place and the New Urban Agenda.
The two-day conference was organized by the HUDCC in partnership with UN Habitat, United Cities and Local Governments Asia-Pacific (UCLGASPAC), and the League of Cities of the Philippines, and sought to discuss issues affecting public space and planned urban development.
"With 50% of our country's population living in urban areas, it means that every day, one (1) out of two (2) Filipinos experiences heavy traffic, is exposed to a polluted environment, and has limited access to certain basic goods and services.
However, at the same time, by being in the city, one finds himself in a position to partake of the roughly 75% of the country's economic output, which comes from these areas. That is, in a very general sense, the scenario we have today," the VP said.
Likewise, Binay noted that unless urban living conditions and social conditions in general are improved, the country cannot claim to be successful even in the face of the steady economic growth over the years.