Manila City Council visits Paris

A delegation of councilors from the City Council of Manila, led by Councilors Marlon Lacson and Maria Sheilah Lacuna-Pangan, visited Paris last March 30 to learn more about urban planning in a city that is the most visited in the world, and admired for its timelessness and beauty.
The delegation, accompanied by Philippine Embassy in Paris officials, met with Mr. Andre Bourlon, the Deputy Director of the Atelier Parisien d’Urbanisme (APUR), or the Paris Urban Planning Office, who briefed the group on the Paris experience and on how the city has evolved over time.
Mr. Bourlon talked about the major chapters of Paris’ life, the challenges that it has faced, and the lead players in its long history, among them the famous Baron Haussmann who was responsible for transforming Paris into the city that it is today. He also briefed the councilors on the activities of APUR, the present-day challenges, which are primarily lodging and transportation, and the major initiatives of the city, particularly the plan to create a Greater Paris by 2020.
In the exchange of views, the delegation shared that Manila, like Paris, is also a dense city with a lot of history, and both have approximately comparable populations—1.6 million for Manila and two million for Paris. It was also noted that both are traversed by rivers—the Seine for Paris, and the Pasig for Manila, which offer much potential for development.
The delegation took the opportunity to solicit Mr. Bourlon’s views on many aspects of city management, including sanitation and garbage disposal, flood management, transportation and social housing, and preservation of heritage sites.
Visit of COA Officials
Meanwhile, the Commission on Audit (COA) officials, led by Ms. Grace Pulido-Tan, also visited Paris last March 30 to seek support for COA’s bid for the position of External Auditor of the United Nations.  The delegation came from Geneva, where they signed an agreement with the World Health Organization, contracting the services of the Philippines as the External Auditor of the organization.
The councilors and COA officials were hosted for dinner by Philippine Ambassador to France Cristina G. Ortega at the official residence.