The only solution put forward by Meralco to make the expansion of its distribution grid in poor areas profitable is the implementation of a prepaid service system to avoid late payments. Yet, it mainly results in telling the poor to use less when the rich, whose contribution to the city’s carbon footprint is far bigger, maintain highly energy-consuming ways of life without any significant disincentive from the state.
Nationally, the Philippines has a renewable energy rate of 32%, which is rather promising compared to surrounding countries, especially thanks to geothermal energy, for which the country is the second largest producer in the world thanks to its strong seismic activity (Mouton 2015). But the country remains Asia’s largest energy importer. More worryingly, Manila is particularly overdependent on coal and oil, of which it has to import 90% of its consumption. With a booming economic and population growth, a sustainable energy policy is increasingly crucial to Manila’s functioning.
Beyond the difficulty of coordinating municipalities to respond to the urgent need for satisfactory mobility options for the Manileños, the structuring nature of mobility raises important social issues. In particular, galloping neoliberalism is visible in the “stratification of mobilities”.
In Metro Manila, one of the most densely populated city in the world, analyzing mobility is crucial to make sense of urban development dynamics. Not only is mobility an integral part of Manila’s urban ecology, it is also a governance challenge: the Philippines’ capital city is the second most congested city in the world.
Although metropolises present extreme illustrations of the social and environmental consequences induced by unsustainable development trajectories, they concentrate a diversity of actors and means prone to bring out significant solutions. Urban governance is therefore determinant for Manila’s capacity to manage major issues through inclusive development. So how does Manila exploit its unique potential for collaborative governance?
Manila can be described as a vast drainage basin. As the city realises that its nature is “especially dangerous to lose track of”, A constellation of initiatives and programs to improve resilience have emerged at different scales in the city. The effects of globalisation intertwine with the city’s exposure to climate risks to produce structural inequality in both access to resources and vulnerability to hazards.
The Pasig River plays a vital ecological role for the city of Manila, connecting the two bays that open the city respectively to Asia and the Pacific. Unfortunately, the river has largely been the victim of the city’s great demographic boom.
In 2017, Thames Water made headlines for being fined £20 million for mismanaging sewage water. The company’s opaque financial structure was then exposed. While privatization initially allowed major investments to be made, the service deteriorated rapidly and significantly damaged the environment. In March and June 2019, two water shortages hit Manila for several weeks, highlighting the insufficient quality of the infrastructure. The city is known to have achieved the world’s largest water privatization in 1997