CEBU City and Cebu Province were named third most competitive city for highly urbanized cities and third most competitive province in the country by the National Competitiveness Council (NCC).

In the overall competitiveness ranking of 142 highly urbanized, Cebu City ranked third, next to Manila (first) and Makati City (second).

The City did better in the competitiveness ranking this year than it did in the past two years.

The NCC’s Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index, which is on its third year, measures the local government unit’s quality of infrastructure, economic dynamism and government efficiency.

It is a score card that may be used by potential investors to gauge the performance of the LGU.

Mayor Michael Rama accepted the award given by the NCC during the ceremonies held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila yesterday.

“Congratulations to us. We should be happy because I didn’t even know this whole competition has been ongoing. I am the most surprised. It is really shocking and stunning,” he said.

In a letter of invitation he sent to Gov. Hilario Davide III, NCC co-chairman Guillermo Luz said that Cebu Province qualified as one of the most competitive provinces, ranking third after Davao del Sur (first) and Misamis Oriental (second).

“We are extremely happy for this recognition given to the Province of Cebu. We thank God for this and we dedicate this award to the people of Cebu,” said Davide, who accepted the award in Manila.

“We accept this recognition as a challenge to do more and be better,” he said.

Rama said he is proud of the result because the mayor of the top three most competitive cities are allies of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

“This has great political implication because the best cities are all run not by leaders from the other party but by leaders from the UNA party,” he said.

In last year’s overall ranking, Cebu City only made it to the 7th spot out of the 136 highly urbanized cities evaluated by the NCC. In 2013, Cebu City was ranked 57th.

Aside from earning a place in the overall competitiveness ranking, Rama also disclosed that NCC ranked Cebu City second in the infrastructure category. Last year, Cebu City ranked fifth.

Rama said he does not have an idea how the City fared in the two other categories because only those in the top three were announced.

According to NCC’s website, though, Cebu City landed on the 6th place this year for economic dynamism category. This is better than last year’s 10th place ranking. Quezon City ranked first.

For government efficiency, Cebu City is in the 10th place, faring better compared to its 55th place last year. The top spot was earned by Iloilo City.

In a phone interview yesterday, Rama said it will be a “great challenge” for Cebu City to continue performing well in the NCC’s annual competitiveness ranking.

“We are not saying we will already be number two or number one next year but we have to maintain to be aggressive and be continuously competitive,” he said.

Rama also said that he will create a group that will prepare all of the requirements for next year’s competition.

NCC evaluated over 1,000 cities and municipalities all over the country for this year’s competitiveness ranking.

The annual ranking is developed by the NCC through the Regional Competitiveness Committees with the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development.