Legarda: Vigan, model town for business and heritage

April 24, 2013

Sen. Loren Legarda today lauded the City of Vigan, particularly its local government unit (LGU) led by Mayor Eva Medina, for its continuing efforts to manage and preserve the city as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and for effectively bringing down poverty incidence.

Legarda challenged other LGUs to equal, if not exceed, Vigan’s achievement, saying many cities and municipalities have the resources, capability and creative talents to create their own niches and attain global recognition.

“Vigan City is a model both for environmental activism and poverty reduction. It is able to show that preserving a heritage site and protecting the environment can go hand in hand with bringing down poverty incidence,” Legarda said.

She said that in the first week of Congress session, she will file a resolution commending the efforts of Mayor Medina in taking care of and preserving a World Heritage Site.

It will be recalled that the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization last year bestowed on the city its first-ever “Best practice in World Heritage Site Management” award during the international body’s 40th World Heritage Convention in Japan. UNESCO said Vigan’s successful and sustainable management had been achieved with relatively limited resources, which should make it adaptable to sites in all countries.

As the city worked towards preserving a cultural heritage, it also embarked on a program to uplift the economic condition of the people through the creation of micro livelihood enterprises and jobs-generating skills training made possible by two Legarda-authored laws, the Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and the Barangay Kabuhayan Act.

The city’s program caused poverty incidence to go down every year beginning 2008 with 25.84 percent representing 3,050 families; to 23.40 percent representing 2,794 families in 2009; to 17.10 percent representing 2,966 families in 2010 and 14.82 percent representing 1812 families in 2011. Last year, poverty incidence was down to 12 percent.

To bring down poverty and benefit the poor, the LGU established the Vigan Skills Training Institute in 2009, which serves as the training arm imparting skills for increased productivity, livelihood and employment opportunities.

The city government also created the Vigan Livelihood Council in partnership with governmental organizations for livelihood programs to reach other marginalized sectors of the community.

“It can be said that the quantitative measurement of the success of our MSME law is Vigan,” Legarda said. “I am glad to learn that because of laws we created, the economic condition of our people have improved and opportunities are being spread,” she added.