MEXICO -- This municipality is now set to push its competitiveness rating a notch higher after it was cited among the 10 friendliest places to conduct business after topping the index constructed by the National Competitiveness Council (NCC).

Out of 163 participating municipalities in the 2013 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) nationwide, Guagua placed second, Guimba sixth and Mexico seventh.

Among the criteria of the survey conducted by the NCC from January 31 to December 31, 2012 are infrastructure, economic dynamism and government efficiency, as well as performance in employment, business registration, finance, growth in sales of businesses, criminality, health and education.

Last year, Guagua ranked sixth while Mexico got the 10th spot.

Mayor Roy Manalastas said that the municipality will not be resting on its laurels. He added that the award will be taken as an inspiration for them to better services for the business sector and strengthen local business activity in the town.

"We are not yet satisfied. We know that Mexico can do even better and our leadership and the help of the various sector will enable us to do better," Manalastas said, adding that they are now embarking on an assessment to improve their local service procedures and how to involve other sectors in local development.

Manalastas said that the data from the NCC will help them benchmark standards and set objectives this fiscal year for the town. He added that the data will also give them ideas on how towns run their day-to-day business and programs.

Formed in 2006, NCC is a government-private sector task force designed to help improve the country’s competitiveness to entice more investments into the economy.