By Emme Rose S. Santiagudo

URBAN PLANNERS from the Netherlands are hoping to make Iloilo City more sustainable by making it more friendly to cyclists.

The Netherlands announced a partnership with the Iloilo City government to aid in urban planning, with a particular focus on providing infrastructure dedicated to cycling.

The Dutch Cycling Embassy, a public-private partnership backed by the Dutch government and consisting of urban planning and cycling experts, will visit Iloilo, according to Kevin C.D.G. Punzalan, senior policy officer at the Economic and Public Affairs of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Philippines.

“This is significant because the Dutch Cycling Embassy only operated before in Japan within Asia. The Philippines will be the first Southeast Asian country to be the location of the bike workshop and we are very proud to bring them here for the free workshop,” he said.

According to Mr. Punzalan Iloilo has been on the front lines of developing infrastructure for cycling.

“Iloilo is one beautiful example of a city with sustainable urban planning here in the Philippines. It is also one of the leaders in terms of developing infrastructure for cycling. That is why we want to help develop Iloilo’s potential in infrastructure especially for cycling,” he told reporters last week.

On Oct.7-8, Mr. Punzalan said the embassy will help organize a “Think Bike Workshop” with stakeholders from the tourism and planning offices of the local government, the transport sector, and cycling civic society organizations.

During the workshop, participants will conduct a bike tour of Iloilo City to view best practices and evaluate how to further improve, Mr. Punzalan added.

At the end of the two-day workshop, the findings will be presented to Mayor Jerry P. Treñas and Dutch representatives.

“We hope that Iloilo province and city will take up the plan and begin to implement it and the Netherlands will be happy to support the implementation,” Mr. Punzalan said.

According to Mr. Punzalan, the workshop is part of the launch of the Cine-Europa Film Festival organized by the European Union in the Philippines.