Baguio still ‘competitive’ despite survey result-A A +A
Sunday, November 3, 2013
BAGUIO remains competitive economically despite its poor showing in the 2012 Cities and Municipalities Local Economic Development Competitiveness Survey.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan said during the presentation of the results of the survey conducted recently by heads of the Department of Trade and Industry Cordillera and Baguio-Benguet, it was found insufficient and inconsistent data from the city departments were supplied for the survey resulting in its poor standing.
DTI-CAR Regional Director Myrna Pablo, who serves as chairman of the Regional Competitiveness Committee, Assistant Regional Director Carmelita Usman, Investments Promotions officer Vilma Abad and DTI Baguio-Benguet director Freda Gawisan, who presented the results before the department heads, said the city departments indeed supplied incomplete data and most of the information provided were contradicting therefore not satisfying the factors and indicators provided under the survey namely economic dynamism, government efficiency and infrastructure.
As per the results, the City of Tabuk performed better, placing 38th in the survey, which was topped by Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, San Fernando (Pampanga) and Butuan City.
After the presentation, the mayor tasked the department heads to confer with the DTI and the Department of the Interior and Local Government Baguio to reconcile the data and the procedures being done by the city for revalidation by the identified offices.
“It is not important that we become number 2 or 3 or be on top of the survey, what is important is that the data are reconciled and that the real situation of our city is reflected,” the mayor said.
He said the city’s fiscal status remains good as its local revenues remain bigger than its Internal Revenue Allocation (IRA) share and therefore, unlike other cities, does not depend solely on the IRA to finance its operations and projects.
“Despite being one of the smallest cities with only 57.49 square kilometer land area, our city generates more than P800 million from local sources which is larger that our IRA share of P530 million. Our proposed budget for next year is around P1,390,000,000 and we remain debt-free,” the mayor said.
“If indeed we are not competitive economically, then we would have been experiencing financial problems but as it is, we are okay and financially stable. We have no loans from internal or external sources. Of course, we cannot prosecute all the projects we want but steadily, our local revenues are growing and this supports mainly the budgetary needs of our city,” the local chief exec stressed.
Among those to be revalidated is the city’s business process and licensing system (BPLS) where the city performed poorly having not complied with the recommended BPLS streamlining reforms particularly the use of a unified form, lessening of the number of signatories to five, processing steps to five and processing time to ten days for new permits and five days for renewal. As per assessment, the city does not use the unified form, has seven signatories and nine steps.
The mayor expressed openness to further streamline the city’s BPLS system to comply with the reforms as long as these are realistic and in line with the city’s business situation.
“If the changes would mean that we will do away with steps that are crucial in ensuring the applicants’ compliance with our requirements and will be in violations of our existing ordinances, then I will not allow them as we cannot sacrifice the integrity of our process just to shorten it,” the mayor said.
The survey is commissioned by the National Competitiveness Council and will be done annually to assess the performance of the municipalities and cities toward realizing the country’s goal of improving its economic standing in the various international survey groups. (Aileen Refuerzo)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on November 04, 2013.