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Philippines: MMDA Kicks Off Plan for Improving Metro Manila's Global Competitiveness

March 6, 2012

MANILA, MARCH 6, 2012—The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA)—working with other government agencies, local government units and supported by the World Bank, Australian Agency for International Development, and the Japanese Government—launched today the formulation of a twenty-year strategy to transform Metro Manila into a highly competitive East Asian metropolis that promotes a higher standard of living for its residents.

Dubbed “Metro Manila Greenprint 2030,” the plan will develop a common vision for Metro Manila’s future, propose institutional reforms to improve coordination among key players, and provide spatial strategy that will guide the urban form of the metropolis, primary infrastructure, green systems and the clustering of economic activities to improve livability.

“We desire an urban environment that is more conducive for investors, entrepreneurs, and innovators as well as creative minds that will enhance our competitiveness vis-à-vis other cities in Asia. It’s a long process but Greenprint 2030 is one big step towards this direction,” said MMDA Chairperson Francis S. Tolentino.

To be completed in June 2013, the formulation of Greenprint 2030 is supported by a trust fund from the AusAID, as well as the East Asia Eco2 Cities program administered by the World Bank. The East Asia Eco2 program, which helps cities in developing countries achieve greater ecological and economic sustainability, is a multi-donor initiative anchored in the World Bank and supported by a grant from the Japanese government through the Cities Alliance.

Mr. Tolentino said MMDA had crafted a physical framework plan for Metro Manila in 1999. He said that after 15 years, there is a need to revise the plan in view of significant changes in the economic, social and environmental conditions in the metropolis.

“Greenprint 2030 will be a broad-stroke document, which aims to look strategically into the future, and provide a long-term direction to guide actions of both the public and private sectors to help Metro Manila rise up to its potential,” said Mr. Tolentino. “Of special considerations are factors including climate change, the increasing vulnerability of the metropolis to natural disasters, rising demand for affordable housing close to places of work and livelihood.”

Greenprint 2030 will provide a framework for integrated management of complex issues within Metro Manila, including coordination among the 17 local government units (LGUs) that make up the National Capital Region (NCR), as well as the surrounding LGUs. “Given the spread of the extended Manila region, Greenprint’s spatial framework will cover neighboring areas in the CALABARZON and Central Luzon regions,” Mr. Tolentino added.

Metro Manila generates about a third of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). It also enjoys competitive advantages in sectors like information technology, business process outsourcing, urban tourism and wholesale and retail trade.

The metropolis however is also facing many challenges, including declining competitiveness vis-à-vis other metropolitan cities in Asia, rising poverty and proliferation of informal settlements, rising risks of floods, and weak coordination among LGUs and agencies.

World Bank Country Director Motoo Konishi said that, in partnership with AusAID and other development partners, the World Bank is pleased to support the formulation of the Metro Manila Greenprint 2030 because it fits well in the institution’s broader commitment to help address urban development challenges in the Philippines.

“Our role in this endeavour is to help facilitate the conversation among key stakeholders to achieve a common vision for Metro Manila as well as bring in international experience and expertise from where this kind of planning process has worked very well,” said Mr. Konishi. “This process will require the active support and participation of the private sector, civil society and the academe to ensure success. And the success of Metro Manila Greenprint 2030 in addressing key challenges will unlock the growth potentials of the entire country.”

On June 12, 2011, the Cities Alliance provided a US$455,000 grant for the formulation of the country’s national slum upgrading strategy that will guide the efforts of national and local government units in improving the living condition of informal communities in the cities. (The Cities Alliance, housed at the World Bank, is a global coalition of cities and their development partners committed to scaling up successful approaches to slum upgrading, city developing strategies, and poverty reduction.)

In early 2011, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) approved a US$1.5 million grant (administered by the World Bank) for the formulation of the Metro Manila flood control master plan to help reduce the vulnerability of Metro Manila and surrounding areas to destructive floods.  (GFDRR is a partnership of 32 countries and 6 international organizations, including the World Bank, committed to helping developing countries reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards and adapt to climate change.)

The formulation of Greenprint 2030 will be done in two phases.

Phase 1, to be completed in May 2012, will commence with a workshop to raise awareness among key stakeholders in regard to global best practices and approaches to enhance metropolitan competitiveness, livability and sustainability. The vision for the Metro Manila’s future will be forged at this stage.

Phase 2 will involve the preparation of a strategic spatial strategy for approval by June 2013. Phase 2 will require further financial support from the government or other development partners.


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