CEBU City was awarded as the most honest and transparent city among metro growth centers outside Metro Manila.

It also fared well in a survey on the quality of life, cost of doing business, dynamism of the local economy, human resources and training, infrastructure, and responsiveness of local government units (LGUs) to business needs.

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Cebu City, along with Dagupan and Cagayan de Oro, was named the most competitive city outside Metro Manila in the Philippine Cities Competiveness Ranking Project 2009 (PCCRP) of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Policy Center.

Cebu City was also recognized as the Best in Disaster Preparedness, Best in the Dynamism of its Local Economy and Best in Infrastructure.

According to the AIM Policy Center website, Cebu City figured in all the award categories, which included Best Compliance with Government-Mandated Plans, Entrepreneurs’ Award for Most Supportive to MSMEs, Entrepreneurs’ Award for Most Honest and Transparent Cities, Dynamism of Local Economy, Infrastructure, and Quality of Life.

“I’m very proud of this and I’m proud our city government. At least, I have something to show to our critics and I can just laugh at them,” said former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña, who received the award last week.

The PCCRP study was based on government data, a perception survey among business owners, and interviews with local chief executives and local business group’s representative.

It also classified the cities into three groups: metropolitan growth centers, growth centers and emergent cities.

According to the summary of findings and a report published by Newsbreak Online, Cebu City bested Davao in the metro growth center category, which refers to cities with an average of P3.05 billion total income and average population of 1.08 million.

The city received the Entrepreneurs’ Award for “Most Honest and Transparent in its Dealings” among metro growth cities.

It was credited for disclosing financial accountability, as well as using participation in its planning and budgeting processes.

Cebu City was also named the top performer in disaster preparedness.

It was commended for its City Disaster Coordinating Council, disaster preparedness plan and documents on tracking of informal settlers. It also met the minimum ratio for the number of firemen for every 100,000 residents.

The city also bested other cities for its dynamic economy, measured in terms of per capita income, number of commercial and universal banks, building construction area, membership in local chambers of commerce and industry, access to finance, level of foreign interest, number of Department of Tourism accredited establishments and historical sites.

It bested Davao City in infrastructure for the reduced travel time to its seaport, reduced travel time for road maintenance, commercial water connections, subscribed telephone lines and reliability of water service.

Cagayan de Oro, meanwhile, topped in the growth centers category, which included the cities of General Santos, Baguio, Lapu-Lapu, Zamboanga, Olongapo, Batangas, Iloilo, Bacolod and Mandaue. These cities have an average income of P1.2 billion and population 421,165.

Dagupan City is the most competitive among the emergent cities.

It bested the cities of Angeles, Butuan, Cotabato, Lucena, Naga, Legaspi, Pagadian, Puerto Princesa, Ormoc, Iligan, Tagum, and San Fernando in La Union, Surigao, Tuguegarao, Tacloban and Santiago.

AIM conducted the study with support from the United States Agency for International Development and the German foundation gtz. (GAC)