The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) hired ICMA to implement the  Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) project in Philippine cities to improve local capacity in inclusive and resilient urban development, improve local economic development, and expand economic connectivity and access between urban and rural areas.

SURGE is the flagship project of USAID’s Cities Development Initiative (CDI), a crucial component of the broader Partnership for Growth with Equity (PFG). A White House-initiated “whole of government” partnership between the U.S. government and the government of the Philippines, PFG aims to shift the Philippines to a sustained and more inclusive growth trajectory on par with other high‐performing emerging economies.

SURGE fosters the development of conditions for broad-based, inclusive, and resilient economic growth in the CDI partner cities. The project is helping these secondary cities plan effectively, improve the delivery of basic public services, promote a business-friendly environment and investment climate, and reduce disaster and climate risks while ensuring inclusive and sustainable growth. 

The quarterly CDI newsletter, produced by the USAID/SURGE project, showcases this work in the Philippines through stories, photos, video clips, graphics, and events in various sectors, including environment, economic growth, health, and education.

The latest newsletter includes updates on SURGE project activities in response to the continued challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other project happenings in the Philippines, including:

  • Technical assistance provided to local Rural Waterworks and Sanitation Associations (RWSAs) in General Santos City aided in making strategic decisions to improve water services to thousands of residential customers including cleaner and safer water.
  • With technical assistance from the USAID/SURGE project since 2016, Puerto Princesa City had previously crafted a tourism development plan, and has been able to respond to the pandemic’s devastating effect on the city’s tourism, and re-open under the new normal on September 1, 2020. The city has allocated additional funding to prevent community transmission and to establish a COVID-19 laboratory to test arriving tourists.
  • Aided by a series of online workshops with USAID/SURGE and consultation with various stakeholders, the local governments of Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Iloilo, Legazpi, Puerto Princesa, Tagbilaran, and Zamboanga have completed their COVID-19 economic response and recovery plans to help cope with and bounce back from the diverse challenges of the pandemic.
  • Many women-led micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Cagayan de Oro have reopened, while adapting to takeout and delivery services to ring in sales. Many of these entrepreneurs in Cagayan de Oro attended the USAID/SURGE led capacity-building workshops focused on the transition to cashless transactions as well as business continuity planning and digital marketing.

View the latest CDI Newsletter here.