Swedish government plans to partner with Mandaue City on transportation, waste management systems

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Cebu (CNN Philippines, August 23) — The Swedish government is planning to collaborate with Mandaue City in Cebu on transportation and waste management systems to make the locality a sustainable smart city.

Swedish Ambassador to the Philippines Annika Thunborg said there are a lot of ideas for partnership with the city government and the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and that specifics will be announced soon after a series of meetings.

"We are very like-minded. Mandaue as a city has won different awards as sustainability and smart city development. I have been to different events where I have spoken and Mandaue City often gets a prize or a winner, so that bodes very well for the future," Thunborg said in an interview with reporters.

Thunborg was one of the speakers at the MCCI Business Summit 2023 on Wednesday where she talked about sustainability in the circular economy or the ways on how to reduce carbon footprint among industries just like in Sweden.

Thunborg said that a transportation system is one area that has been discussed for collaboration with Mandaue City.

"Another area is waste management and waste-to-energy and that we also discussed with (Cebu) Governor (Gwen) Garcia previously," she added. "Of course, as we know there is a lot of interest in moving towards a more sustainable waste management system in Cebu."

Thunborg said Sweden is known for a very efficient transportation system which includes Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems, ferries, trains, and subway systems.

The ambassador said she was glad that Metro Cebu is now starting to build its own BRT system which she described as a first step to a sustainable transportation system.

"It is very important for Cebu to have a BRT system," the envoy said, adding any city needs a good mix of transportation systems.

"The aim is for the whole population to use the public transportation system and basically leave the car at home," Thunborg explained.

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes welcomed the collaboration with the Swedish government, saying it is the goal of his city to become a smart and sustainable city.

"I am confident that we are on the right track, Mandaue is doing good, with the good partnership with the business sector, and we do hope to take advantage of the momentum," Cortes said. "The momentum is on our side."

Whatever plans they have for Mandaue, Cortes said it would also need to collaborate with neighboring Cebu City and Lapu-Lapu City.

"That is our goal," the ambassador pointed out. "In fact, that is why we are establishing good relationship with our neighboring cities of Cebu and Lapu-Lapu. We have to go beyond borders because our neighbors' problems sooner or later will be our problem so we need to pool our efforts together."