By Minerva Newman
TAGBILARAN CITY— An Urban Development Learning Center will soon rise at the Holy Name University (HNU) compound in Tagbilaran City, the second grant from the United States Government through its Strengthening Urban Resiliency for Growth with Equity (SURGE) to create growth centers and spread economic development in cities outside of Metro Manila.
The new facility is the US government’s second innovation set in place at the HNU and is expected to operate on its own, like the Bohol Poll which was an earlier grant to the school, according to the Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-Bohol manager Rey Anthony Chiu.
Chiu said SURGE project assists cities to create and guarantee efficient basic public service through the development of conditions for wider, inclusive and resilient economic growth in the countryside.
“The goal of the project is to improve urban development and planning, promote low-emission local economic development, facilitate greater connectivity and access between urban and rural areas and promote social inclusion,” Chiu said.
The center can be a learning venue for local government units in the Visayas on how to reduce business transaction costs, promote competitiveness, support sustainable development, and reduce disaster and climate change risks while ensuring inclusive and sustainable growth.
Chiu said that HNU is the local academic partner of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Governance on Local Democracies (GOLD) Project to lead in research and development (R&D) for the Boholano community through the initial funding of the Bohol Poll.
The USAID-GOLD funded the Bohol Poll in 1997 as the project of the Associates in Rural Development (ARD) which had intensive technical assistance provided for by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).
The Bohol Poll was an extension of the in-house research arm of the HNU Research Center that soon got technical, material and financial support lending its services to the academic departments, training and documentation services and the first localized public opinion polling.
Chiu added that BOHOL Poll is now operating independently and has become an annual monitoring activity on the sentiments of the Boholanos on social, economic, political issues of local and national concerns.
According to Chiu, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Yung Kim has been the point person in advancing these two initiatives in Bohol and in the promotion of the country’s basic education and other innovative projects in Bohol and in the various LGUs in the country.
HNU conferred on Ambassador Kim the degree of Doctor of Management in Human Resource Management honoris cause in ceremonies at the HNU Barder Gymnasium on December 16, 2019.