Cities #WithRefugees

Cities and municipalities are some of UNHCR’s most important partners, as majority of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) now dwell in cities not in camps. Finding themselves on the frontlines of the global refugee response, an increasing number of cities are choosing to empower refugees and embrace the opportunities they bring. Mayors and cities also play an incredibly important role in strengthening inclusion and combating misinformation, racism, and xenophobia.


With COVID-19 Cities around the world are stepping up to address the economic, health and social impact of COVID-19 and to protect their most vulnerable residents, including refugees.


Philippine Cities in Solidarity #WithRefugees 

(New!) ANTIPOLO, Rizal
(New!) IMUS, Cavite
(New!) QUEZON CITY, Metro Manila
VIGAN, Ilocos Sur
ZAMBOANGA, Zamboanga del Sur



On 10 June 2019, Mayor Russell Pleyto of Santa Maria, Bulacan signed the Cities #WithRefugees statement of solidarity. Undersecretary Martin Diño of the Dept. of the Interior and Local Government and Santa Maria Vice Mayor Ricky Buenaventura witnessed the ceremonial signing.

“We shoulder the enormous responsibility of providing access to housing, health care, education, skills training, and employment opportunities for newcomers and long-term residents alike. We are very much willing to help the refugees who live for five years now in our town.”

– MAYOR RUSSEL PLEYTO, Santa Maria, Bulacan

SANTA ANA, Pampanga


Mayor Norberto G. Gamboa led the Municipal Government of Santa Ana, Pampanga, in signing the Solidarity Statement #withrefugees on 3 September 2019.

“Cities #WithRefugees seeks to highlight the increasingly important role cities have taken on in accommodating refugees. Local authorities and mayors are some of the most important actors helping refugees to settle in, find a safe place to live, access services, and be able to support their families.”

– MAYOR NORBERTO G. GAMBOA, Santa Ana, Pampanga



Mayor Edwin “EdSa” Santiago, together with Vice Mayor Jimmy Lazatin, and City Councilor Ariel Carreon, led the signing of the Solidarity Statement #withrefugees on 5 September 2019 at the Heroes Hall in the City of San Fernando.

“To be a sustainable city, we must not only be economically viable but also socially inclusive.”

– MAYOR EDWIN DAVID SANTIAGO, San Fernando, Pampanga



Mayor Kit Nieto and Vice Mayor Ace Servillon of Cainta, Rizal led the ceremonial signing of the Cities #WithRefugees statement of solidarity on 10 September 2019.

“Humanity is borderless. We want to cover the needs of these people who do not have Cainta as their home.”

– MAYOR KIT NIETO, Cainta, Rizal



Mayor Arlene B. Arcillas signed on 19 September 2019 the Cities #WithRefugees statement of solidarity to mark the City of Santa Rosa’s initiative in welcoming and including refugees in the community.

“The City of Santa Rosa is one with UNHCR in supporting the refugees who are in our City by providing them the necessary assistance and guarantee their safety.”


GUIUAN, Eastern Samar


On 22 October 2020, the Mayor Annaliza Gonzales-Kwan of the Municipality of Guiuan signed the statement of solidarity and highlighted the Philippines’ long-standing and continuing tradition of opening its doors to the forcibly displaced.

“Guiuan supports UNHCR’s Cities #WithRefugees to show that this current generation continues to uphold our town’s long history of kindness and compassion towards refugees and strangers needing assistance. “

– MAYOR ANNALIZA KWAN, Guiuan, Eastern Samar