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Manila, Butuan Among Top 50 Cities in Global Mayors Challenge

Bloomberg Philantrophies looking for innovators.
by Erwin Colcol
Jun 16, 2021
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano

The cities of Manila and Butuan have made it to the top 50 finalists of the Bloomberg Philantrophies 2021 Global Mayors Challenge, a competition that aims to identify and implement the most innovative ideas developed by cities to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manila and Butuan are the only Southeast Asian cities to make it to the list, selected from a pool of 631 cities that also submitted their applications earlier this year. Other finalists from the Asia-Pacific region include Auckland, New Zealand; Daegu, South Korea; Pune, India; and Taipei, Taiwan.

“These 50 finalists are showing the world that in the face of the pandemic’s enormous challenges, cities are rising to meet them with bold, innovative, and ambitious ideas,” said Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies.


As finalists, Manila and Butuan will advance in the next phase of the competition, where they will refine their project proposals with the help of Bloomberg Philantrophies. Fifteen cities will eventually win, each receiving $1 million to allow them to implement their ideas.

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“By helping these cities test their ideas over the coming months, we will have a chance to identify cutting-edge policies and programs that can allow cities to rebuild in ways that make them stronger and healthier, and more equal and more just," Bloomberg said.

Manila has proposed "Go Manila," a set of new policies, processes, and digital platforms designed to build the city's first modern data infrastructure. The project is meant to uplift Manila residents through digital education, engagement, analytics and opportunity.

The mayor of the capital city, Isko Moreno, is among the frontrunners for president in next year's elections according to early surveys.

Butuan, on the other hand, seeks to address the "ineffective agricultural market" in the city by equipping farmers with predictive data, allowing them to make better decisions about the type and amount of crops they would plant.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno thanked Bloomberg Philantrophies for including the city in the top 50 finalists.

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“This prestigious accolade belongs to every Manileño and every Filipino. But we don’t stop here: we’re committed to the next phase of the competition," he added.

For his part, Butuan City Mayor Ronnie Vicente Lagnada said: "Our city looks forward to joining and learning from this global community of innovative cities as we work to improve upon our idea in the months ahead."

The winning cities will be announced early next year.

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