Bickering ‘blocking Cebu’s progress’

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011


POOR political climate, poor infrastructure and no planning are some of the challenges facing Cebu’s development, a business leader said.

Gordon Alan “Dondi” Joseph, president of the Cebu Business Club, said the number and values of investments in Cebu are going down.

Joseph, who spoke on business and governance before members of the Rotary Club of Cebu West (RCCW) Tuesday evening, said it was time politicians ceased their squabbling and start planning for Cebu’s future.

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“Political bickering has to stop. It’s blocking progress,” he said.

For Cebu to be competitive, Joseph said Cebu needs strategic planning and good governance, just as good businesses need planning and management.

Showing figures on Cebu’s investments for three years, Joseph showed that from 2007 to 2009, investments in Cebu (both foreign and local) dropped from P14.8 billion in 2009 and P22.4 billion in 2008 to just P1.4 billion in 2009.

Quoting a Global Urban Competitiveness Report, Joseph also told members of the RCCW that Cebu is ranked in the bottom—475 out of 500 cities in the world.

The 2009-2010 report was prepared by experts and scholars around the world. The report showed that Cebu dropped 10 places from the previous report in 2007-2008.

He also showed a report from the World Bank stating 20 percent of the country’s national budget goes to corruption.

Joseph added that doing business in Cebu is difficult.

Other factors that he feels affect Cebu’s development are the quality of education, land use and transportation, water supply, power supply, competition with emerging economic centers and the decreasing quality of life perception.

He particularly lamented that no one has yet been able to address the water supply problem.

“And we’ve known about it since the 1960s,” he added.

He also hopes education and job creation will be given more attention, saying getting jobs for the unemployed is the quickest way out of poverty.

Joseph said such problems have led a group of business leaders to form the Cebu Leads Foundation Inc., which he described as business and civic society’s response to the current problems Cebu is facing.

He said the foundation will build a consensus for a constructive, developmental vision for Cebu.

Its first undertaking is helping to solve the worsening traffic in Metro Cebu, as it organized the first Metro Cebu traffic summit.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 20, 2011.

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