Don’t be complacent, Cebu told

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014


CITIES in Cebu will face stronger competition not only among themselves but against over a hundred cities in the country and should not be complacent, business officials warned.

This was the reaction of Filipino-Cebuano Business Club president Rey E. Calooy and Cebu Business Club president Gordon Allan P. Joseph on the results of the 2014 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI), which was released by the National Competitiveness Council last week.

Joseph, who also serves as the co-chairman of the Regional Competitiveness Council for Region VII, said more local government units participated in the CMCI. From a little over 260 when it first started in 2012, 530 LGUs joined this year.

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“This indicates a real interest from the LGUs to be labeled competitive. There is no question that these LGUs want to attract investments. In other words, competition for Cebu’s share of the local and foreign investment pie is getting stronger,” Joseph said in an e-mail to Sun.Star Cebu.

Top rank

Last year, no city in Cebu made it to the top 50 out of the 122 cities in the Philippines. This year, however, Cebu City made it to seventh in overall competitiveness, climbing 50 notches up from the previous spot of 57. It garnered a score of 43.69.

Other cities in Cebu, except for Danao, also improved in overall competitiveness. Bogo jumped by 69 spots (from 116 to 47); Mandaue (from 93 to 70); Lapu-Lapu (from 99 to 73); Talisay (from 111 to 102); Naga (from 94 to 55); Carcar (from 110 to 83); and Toledo (from 107 to 104).

Danao was 115th last year but is now 120th.

Leading the roster of the most competitive cities this year were Makati City, Cagayan de Oro and Naga City.

The CMCI, apart from the overall competitiveness score, also assesses each city or town in three areas, which include economic dynamism, government efficiency and infrastructure.

Calooy said in a separate interview that Cebu’s cities should not be complacent with its ranking and strive to go higher to attract investors.

He also advised local government officials not to underestimate the results of the CMCI since this can encourage or discourage investors to pour in their investments in a particular city.

Joseph said LGUs have shown “flexibility, nimbleness, and political will” to implement changes with the competitiveness ranking.

However, both Calooy and Joseph pointed out that the ease of doing business in Talisay City and Cebu City, respectively, should be improved quickly.

In some cases, Joseph said, that there is an “apparent corruption” at the LGU level for the issuance of business permits and other clearances. He, however, cleared the Cebu City Government of such practice.

Meanwhile, in Mandaue City, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Jeruel N. Roa said the city government has adopted the Performance Governance System of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia. He said it is a governance framework that uses a balanced scorecard to measure an LGU’s performance.

“This year, the excitement was palpable and you could feel the hunger of the LGUs for recognition and investment. And make no mistake, foreign investors will look at these rankings when deciding on locations for investments, and as of July 2014, Cebu has six LGUs ahead of it,” he added.

Data

The low ranking of Cebu’s cities last year was attributed to the lack of data submitted by the LGUs, according to NCC program officer Marina Saldaña.

Joseph said there was little cooperation on the part of the LGU last year to help the University of San Carlos, the council’s data collection and analysis resource.

Although Cebu City ranked higher than last year, Joseph said it is still “not good enough.”

“To me, seventh is not good enough. At MCDCB (Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board), we want Mega Cebu to be not just the most liveable and competitive conglomeration of LGUs in the country, but also in Asia. There results of the latest survey show that we obviously have a long way to go. Make no mistake, Cebu has suffered in its competitive and livability rankings,” Joseph said.

From what used to be considered as one of the most liveable and competitive cities in Asia, Cebu City in 2009 ranked 475 of the 500 Global Cities Competitiveness Survey, he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 14, 2014.

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