Urbanization presents a great opportunity for economic growth and poverty reduction in the country.
In the Philippines Urbanization Review: Fostering Competitive, Sustainable and Inclusive Cities, the World Bank and the Government of the Philippines analyze three challenges that need to be addressed if the country is to reap the benefits of urbanization:
- Density. The growing population is not matched by key infrastructure investments.
- Distance. Connectivity issues increase transportation cost and impede labor mobility.
- Division. Limited access to basic services and economic opportunities especially among informal settlers.
The review proposes a two-pronged approach to building competitive, sustainable and inclusive cities:
- In Metro Manila: address critical issues such as congestion, flooding, and slums.
- In secondary cities: balance spatial development, increase productivity, and create jobs.
The review presents key recommendations in four priority areas:
1. City competitiveness
- simplify tax regime and business regulations
- address infrastructure gridlock
- improve access to global markets
- strengthen economic local governance
- strengthen innovation and address skills mismatch
2. Inclusive urbanization
- Help the urban poor access formal jobs
- expand formal sector employment through reinvigoration of manufacturing sector
- close the gap in affordable housing and basic service delivery
- empower communities and involve them in development process
- strengthen institutions that underpin affordable housing especially the local governments
3. Urban governance and institutions
- adopt a national urban policy
- establish a lead agency for urban development
- strengthen institutions and metropolitan governance
- strengthen accountability through fiscal decentralization
4. Land administration and management
- Address growing informal settlements
- streamline institutional arrangements for land services
- develop integrated land information system
- develop a metro-wide physical planning framework
- improve property taxation and valuation