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MANILA, Philippines - The City of San Juan bested 33 other highly urbanized cities in the country to earn the Department of Interior and Local Government's search for the best in this category in 2011.
The award, which was announced in July, caught San Juan Mayor Guia G. Gomez by surprise. "We didn't really prepare. We just did the things we had to do every day. I didn't even know that we were being evaluated," she told InterAksyon.com.
Puerto Princesa, Iloilo, and Valenzuela followed in second, third, and fourth place.
According to Gomez, the criteria for the award included the prompt, timely, and effective delivery of government services. The DILG also assessed the cities based on how they follow the rules and policies that the national government imposes on them.
She said San Juan follows the 7K Program of Kalinisan, Katahimikan, Kaunlaran, Kalusugan, Kalikasan, and Kalinga sa Pamilya (cleanliness, peace, progress, health, environmental protection, and family welfare) which was started by her son, then Mayor and now Congressman JV Ejercito. She said she added the last two items which she thought would help the city achieve success and development.
Highly-urbanized cities are cities with a minimum population of 200,000 inhabitants, as certified by the National Statistics Office, and with the latest annual income of at least P50 million based on 1991 constant prices, as certified by the city treasurer. There are currently 33 highly urbanized cities in the Philippines, 16 of them located in Metro Manila.