From being the top 22 city with the highest competitiveness score in the country last year, Bacolod City is capable of further increasing its ranking given its potentials and key economic strengths, an official of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said.
BSP Department of Economics Research Acting Deputy Director Dr. Joselito Basilio, at the sidelines of the Conference on Gearing Up for External Competitiveness, at Seda Capitol Central in Bacolod City Tuesday, May 15, said the city has the potentials in terms of labor growth, employment, and human resources.
Basilio, in his presentation, said the overall ranking of the Negros Occidental capital city is against 145 cities in the Philippines. Of which, 33 are highly urbanized, and the rest are component cities.
Citing reports from the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) and Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the official reported that Bacolod has a total score of 40.1 in four indicators namely, economic dynamism, infrastructure, resiliency, and financial deepening.
It scored 5.2 in economic dynamism (rank 30), 8.1 in infrastructure (rank 17), 16.4 in resiliency (rank 1), and 0.7 in financial deepening (rank 11).
Among its key strengths include local economy size, growth, and structure; education and health; information technology and financial technology capacity; land use, early warning system and risk reduction plans; and employment.
“It is a good ranking for Bacolod City,” he said, adding that economic dynamism means having enough workforce, structured economy, and solid growth.
Basilio, who discussed the trends and issues on exchange rates during the conference, said Bacolod City also has good schools plus the presence of business process outsourcing (BPO) organization, which are good take-offs for new types of businesses and industries.
He underscored that resiliency, where the city ranked first, risk management is vital. “If something happens naturally affecting the infrastructure, what do you have, can the business continue?”
With risk reduction plans, business becomes resilient, Basilio said, adding that Bacolod’s competitiveness is crucial to other cities in the province.
The NCC data further showed that the cities of Bago, San Carlos and Kabankalan are among the top 15 most improved cities in terms of competitiveness ranking in 2017.
Basilio said it seems that there is a spillover of development from Bacolod towards the three other component cities in Negros Occidental. One of the three localities has increased to five steps or ranks, which is a big jump.
“This is because the potential of the region is really high. More than the agriculture side, the industry and service side are also growing,” he added.
For service sector, for instance, the city is strong in BPO industry.
The official said that aside from young workforce, people in Bacolod City are skilled and talented. “Aside from putting emphasis on science and technology, schools have also been producing talent pool with good English language speaking skills.”
Moreover, Basilio said Negros Occidental is competitive in terms of promoting the tourism of many of its component cities like Silay.
“The tourism is actually a sector that can grow more here and get results more quickly,” he said.