MAYOR Celso Lobregat announced that Zamboanga City captured three awards in the 2009 Philippine Cities Competitiveness Ranking Project (PCCRP), which measures competitiveness of cities in the country.

Lobregat said the awards the city has received in the PCCRP, a flagship research undertaking of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), are: Special Award for Best Documentation; Special Award for Best in Disaster Preparedness; and Entrepreneurs' Award for Most Honest and Transparent in its Dealings.

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The awarding rite was held last Monday during a program held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, said Lobregat, who personally received the awards.

Lobregat said the project measures the competitiveness of cities by analyzing relevant indicators of local economic and political systems and the capability of cities to provide an environment that nurtures dynamism of its local enterprises and prosperity of its residents.

He said it formulates a process and technology with which the development strides of cities can be regularly monitored and evaluated.

Moreover, the project constructs a benchmarking method that will aid individual cities in measuring their level of competitiveness in relation to other cities.

The AIM Policy Center's City Competitiveness Program ranks the overall competitiveness of Philippine urban centers based on the following drivers of competitiveness: costs of doing business; dynamism of the local economy; human resources and training; infrastructure, responsiveness of the local government to business sector's needs; and quality of life.

Drivers of competitiveness for the 2009 PCCRP included dynamism of local economy (the level of activity in the city that generates investment and opportunities for business); infrastructure (the availability and condition of road networks as well as coverage and reliability of utility vehicles); responsiveness of local government unit (LGU) to business needs (the degree to which the local government facilitates or hinders doing business through its regulations, programs and plans); quality of life (the level of safety and the quality of the environment); cost of doing business (the minimum cost items for operating a business); and human resources and training (the quality and availability of local manpower and potential workforce).

The data was obtained through hard data collection, perception survey and key informant interview. The cities were classified according to average annual income based on the previous calendar years.

Lobregat said Zamboanga City is categorized as one of the growth centers included in the ranking project.

Other cities falling under the same category are Baguio, Olongapo, Batangas, Iloilo, Bacolod, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, Cagayan de Oro, and General Santos.

Lobregat expressed elation that the City Government's efforts towards improving the living conditions of the constituents are being recognized and appreciated by award giving bodies and institutions.

The local government will do its utmost best to further bring about progress and development to Zamboanga City and its people, Lobregat said. (Bong Garcia)