Cebu City fifth in infrastructure competitiveness

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Sunday, August 17, 2014


INFRASTRUCTURE plays a significant role in determining the competitiveness of a city, according to the National Competitiveness Council (NCC). If, indeed, Cebu is serious in attracting investors, it should improve its infrastructure, advised stakeholders.

In the NCC’s recently published Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI), the city with the most competitive infrastructure nationwide is Davao City, registering an infrastructure competitiveness score of 16.29. It is followed by Cagayan de Oro, with a score of 16.24.
Cebu City leads the race in Central Visayas, ranking fifth nationwide with a score of 14.88.

Lapu-Lapu City is ranked 45th; Mandaue City, 53rd; Carcar City, 65th; Danao City, 74th; Toledo City, 89th; City of Naga, 90th; Talisay City, 91st; and Bogo City, 99th.

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Iloilo City in Western Visayas has the seventh spot. 

In measuring infrastructure competitiveness, 10 factors were considered, including existing road networks, distance of center to major ports, Department of Tourism-accredited accommodations, health infrastructure, education infrastructure, annual investments in infrastructure, availability of basic utilities, connection to ICT, number of ATMs, and number of public transportation.

Key pillar

The cities of Mandaue, Danao, Lapu Lapu, Talisay, Carcar, and Toledo received higher rankings for infrastructure competitiveness than their overall competitiveness ranking. 

Infrastructure is one of three key pillars in computing for the city or municipality’s overall competitiveness, together with economic dynamism and government efficiency. 

For municipalities, Argao grabbed the fourth spot in infrastructure competitiveness, with a score of 12.09.

NCC ranked Daet in Camarines Norte first for infrastructure competitiveness with a score of 14.79.

Assessing the state of Cebu’s infrastructure problems, particularly Cebu City, Regional Competitiveness Council 7 co-chairman Gordon Allan Joseph said the most prominent of them are the city’s narrow roads, traffic management issues, and sewage and seepage problems.

“Infrastructure, our relatively high ranking of fifth shows that the overall picture for infrastructure development in the Philippines is really low except perhaps for cities like Iloilo, CDO (Cagayan de Oro) and Davao where you do see catch-up development. In Cebu, I do not think we have any new physical or management infrastructure that addresses the issues of congestion, efficiency and mobility,” Joseph said in an e-mail to Sun.Star Cebu on Monday.

More projects

In response to the problem of congestion, Cruz said Cebu City can expect more road-widening projects from the Department of Public Works and Highways next year. He said P1.3 billion has been set for infrastructure projects in 2015 for Cebu City. A large portion of the budget will be allotted to road widening. 

Among the road-widening projects in the north district are the Banilad-Talamban Road, the Talamban-Bacayan Road and the Bacayan-Pit-os Road.

In the south district, among the projects to be implemented are the improvement and widening of Quijada St. to V. Rama Ave., widening of Abellana St., widening of N. Bacalso Ave., widening of C. Padilla St., and widening of Salvador St.

“We rank fifth this year, but if everyone would just cooperate in the improvement (of Cebu City’s infrastructure) we can even be ranked at number one. The big budget is there, almost doubled than last year, which was at P700 million” Cruz said. 

NCC ranked Cebu City in the 68th spot for annual investments in infrastructure, its lowest ranking under infrastructure competitiveness. 
Cruz expressed optimism that if the city’s present state of infrastructure is improved, more investors will invest in Cebu.

On traffic management, Joseph raised the need to install intelligent traffic signals and control centers. 

“The MMDA (Metro Manila Development Authority) is spending P200 million for 87 intelligent intersections, complete with CCTV and a central command center. We need these in Cebu,” he stressed. 

Warning

Meanwhile, Cebu Cham-ber of Commerce and Industry president Ma. Teresa Beltran-Chan called for more Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to improve the city’s present state of infrastructure. 

For one, the approved P10.6-billion Cebu Bus Rapid Transit System is part of the top 16 PPP projects to be pursued by the Aquino administration.
It will have 33 stations with 176 buses and is expected to serve 330,000 passengers every day. 

Filipino-Cebuano Business Club Inc. resident Rey Calooy warned local government officials not to underestimate the ranking since this will surely be the investors’ criteria in choosing a place to invest. 

Infrastructure, Calooy said, is a good indicator in determining how developed a city or municipality is. “We need to do more in our infrastructure (ranking) if we really are serious in attracting the investors,” he said.

Others cite that the present ranking is also affected by the unavailability or lack of data submitted by the local government unit to NCC.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 17, 2014.

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