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PROUD OF CEBU

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita, Victor Anthony V. Silva July 16,2015 - 11:44 PM
Gov. Hilario Davide III (left) and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama (right) vow to do even better next year.   (CDN FILE PHOTO)

Gov. Hilario Davide III (left) and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama (right) vow to do even better next year.
(CDN FILE PHOTO)

Cebu City, Province named 3rd most competitive LGUs

Local officials and business leaders yesterday beamed with pride as Cebu City and Cebu Province were both named as 3rd most competitive LGUs in the annual competitiveness ranking of Philippine cities and municipalities.

“It’s something that we, Cebuanos, especially businessmen, can be proud of,” said Jose T. Ng, area vice president for the Visayas of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).

Cebu City ranked 3rd in overall competitiveness based on the 2015 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI), after Manila (1st) and Makati (2nd).

Cebu Province also ranked 3rd in overall competitiveness among 60 provinces, after Davao del Sur (1st) and Misamis Oriental (2nd).

The index measures the performance of local government units (LGUs) along three fronts: economic dynamism, infrastructure, and governance. The LGUs are considered the building blocks for national competitiveness.

Cebu City ranked 2nd in terms of infrastructure after Manila, while it came in 6th in terms of economic dynamism and 10th in government efficiency.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III were in Manila yesterday to receive the awards from the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) during the 3rd Regional

Competitiveness Summit. The top 3 winners in each category were given plaques of recognition.

AIM HIGH

Rama vowed to make sure Cebu City will either retain or move up in the ranking by next year.

“We should always aim high. I didn’t even know that this has been going on. This time, we already have the money. We should prepare for all of this next year,” he said in a teleconference with reporters after the awarding ceremony at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila.

He said City Hall will have to work on government efficiency.

“It will be a challenge for us that’s precisely why we are not saying that we will be number two or number one. But we have to maintain to be aggressive and continuously competitive,” Rama added.

On the part of Capitol, Provincial Board Member Miguel Antonio Magpale was optimistic that Cebu would claim the top spot in the future.

“For as long as we are not hit by natural calamities or external factors that may hinder our economic growth, then I think number one is achievable – or even just number 2,” he said.

Magpale, who was with the Cebu delegation to the summit yesterday, said the recognition reflects the province’s growth.

“We are proud of Cebu’s growth and, as a whole, it is good for us,” he said in a phone interview.

CHALLENGE

Cebu Province earned a score of 36.65412892, while Davao del Sur received 41.69043955 and Misamis Oriental got 38.92693337.

For the governor, the recognition is a “challenge to do more and better.”

“We’re very happy with the recognition given to the Province of Cebu by the NCC. We thank God for this and we dedicate this award to the people of Cebu,” Davide said in a text message.

The award was given just two days after Capitol also received the Seal of Good Local Governance, with a prize of P7 million, from the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Ng, a former president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, agreed that Capitol needs to work even harder.

“Coming in 3rd among the provinces, after Davao del Sur and Misamis Oriental, is an eye opener,” he said.

“We should look at why Davao del Sur is number 1. What do they have that we don’t have? We’ll have to find out and learn from them,” he added.

This is the first time for the NCC to include the provinces in the ranking. Since 2013, when the project started, only cities and municipalities have been assessed.

IMPROVEMENT

Cebu City climbed four notches to Top 3 this year from 7th place last year. In 2013, the city was nowhere near the top as it ranked 57th.

Based on the 2015 CMCI, Cebu City earned a score of 51.1894 as against Manila’s 54.9629 and Makati’s 54.4147.

“For me, we are number 1 already. Naturally, Manila, which is the (national) capital, and Makati, the financial district, would be ahead of Cebu. To come in just behind these 2 cities is a very big achievement,” Ng of PCCI said.

Mayor Rama said he was “most surprised because Cebu City got two awards,” referring to the City’s overall competitiveness and infrastructure awards.

He pointed out that the Top 3 spots went to cities run by the opposition. Manila is under Mayor Joseph Estrada while Makati is headed by suspended Mayor Junjun Binay.

“If you talk about political (impact), there’s a huge impact. The best cities diay are not run by the other party, but by UNA (United Nationalist Alliance),” Rama said.

City Hall didn’t figure in the Top 10 in 2013 because of lack of coordination with the NCC in terms of data gathering.

INDICATORS

The competitiveness ranking, which was developed by the NCC with assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAid), is a program that encourages local government units (LGUs) to gather and submit data on their performance along three fronts: economic dynamism, government efficiency, and infrastructure.

The performance of each LGU is measured based on 28 indicators: 8 indicators for economic dynamism and 10 indicators each for government efficiency and infrastructure.

From 122 cities and 163 municipalities in 2013, the number of participating LGUs went up this year to 142 cities and 978 municipalities, or a total of 1,120 out of 1,634 LGUs in the country.

The increase indicates that local governments are more conscious of collecting and submitting data on their performance in all three fronts to the NCC.

The program started in 2013 with awards given only to the Top 3 Overall Most Competitive Cities and Municipalities as well as the Top 3 Most Competitive Cities and Municipalities per pillar (economic dynamism, government efficiency, and infrastructure).

This year, the council included new categories, namely, 3rd to 6th class municipalities, 1st to 2nd class municipalities, component cities, and highly urbanized cities. /With Marites Villamor-Ilano

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