DOST Region 2 Director Engr. Sancho Mabborang said the first of project of its kind in the locale, with the theme “Exploring New Growth through Innovation and Nurturing Engagement of Smart Solutions” (ENGINES), aims for the belt and road in the region to be interconnected, paving the way for the Region to embrace progress and improvements. “If we all work together in nurturing Cagayan Valley, it is possible to make every city in the region, a smart city although achieving the vision is not easy, but it is possible,” Mabborang said as he presented virtually along with Region 2’s local executives and LGUs. Included in the smarter city belt are the cities of Cauayan, Tuguegarao, Ilagan, Santiago, and the local government unit of Bayombong, Solano, Maddela, Diffun, Cabarroguis, Lallo and Basco in Batanes. To date, there are three cities considered as “smarter cities,” Cauayan, Tuguegarao and Santiago while the others are on their way for inclusion in the list, Mabborang added. DOST Secretary Fortunato T. Dela Pena emphasized that smarter cities are those utilizing the technologies developed by DOST and by the local government. “Cagayan Valley Smarter City Belt is anchored on the DOST and Philippine basic framework for smart sustainable communities and cities,” Dela Pena stressed. It was in 2015, he recalled, when Cauayan City in Isabela was declared the first smart city in Region 2. Mabborang emphasized the DOST is hopeful to create a synergy and collaboration between smaller and bigger cities, municipalities as well as provinces in the region, citing Cauayan City of Isabela under Mayor Bernard Faustino M. Dy as the prime mover of science in Region 2.