By Corina Oliquino
FilAm Star Correspondent

MANILA — Philippine capital Manila is the worst performer in Asia for this year’s Smart City Index of Switzerland-based IMD Business School and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).

Manila ranked 94th among 102 cities worldwide, lagging behind Jakarta, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur which landed on the 81st, 75th and 70th spots, respectively. Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh got the highest ranking among ASEAN countries at 65th followed by Hanoi at 66th.

The Philippine capital had an overall rating of C, with AAA the highest and D the lowest, with residents citing access to basic amenities, corruption, road congestion, air pollution and security as the top five concerns.

The Report, which assessed cities’ smartness by “gauging their efforts and success in embracing smart technologies to improve the lives of citizens,” looked into real impact of services on people’s daily lives and also scored cities based on their “structures” or how services are made available to citizens.

The institution also used the perceptions of a randomly chosen 120 residents in each city for a survey composed of 40 questions that focused on structures and technologies, with the index focusing on how citizens perceive the scope and impact of efforts to make their cities “smart,” balancing “economic and technological aspects” with “humane dimensions”.

In a report by The Philippine Star, IMD’s Smart City Observatory President Bruno Lanvin said in an interview perceptions of Manila residents were negative on health and safety, particularly on air pollution, public safety and access to medical services.

“Manila’s citizens are more concerned about the structures side of the city than about the technologies being offered to them,” Lanvin said, noting residents also highlighted mobility issues in the city, especially traffic congestion and insufficient public transport, with governance also an issue due to corruption.

“In the city of Manila, efforts should hence focus on how to manage a metropolis of some 13 million by improving traffic and pollution/waste management and providing better access to fundamental services such as safety, health and good governance,” Lanvin said.

“A better integration of urban priorities (re-balancing modern areas like Makati and suburbs/slums) with national (demography, diversification) and regional ones (erosion and pollution in Manila Bay) will also need to be pursued,” he added.

In another report by Manila Bulletin, respondents in Manila put priority on the use of CCTV cameras to make residents feel safer and medical appointments on-line, with the capital scoring below 50 for on-line reporting of air pollution.

Respondents also put emphasis on car-sharing apps to reduce congestion, on-line scheduling and ticket sales to make public transport easier, while also scoring lower for on-line public access at 43.2 in accessing finances for reduced corruption.

Moreover, the report also highlighted the importance of being a globally recognized smart city to attract investment, talent and trade. This year’s top 10 smartest cities include Singapore at first spot with Zurich, Oslo, Geneva, Copenhagen, Auckland, Taipei, Helsinki, Bilbao and Dusseldorf falling closely behind.

According to the Report, being a globally recognized “smart” city is now critical in attracting investment, talent and trade.

“Smart cities are growing and blossoming in all parts of the world. Economic realities cannot be ignored: cities in poorer countries face disadvantages, which will require specific actions to correct along the path towards smartness,” Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, said.

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