A DEPARTMENT of Trade and Industry (DTI) official called on local public and private sectors to participate in competitiveness studies, whose results influence policies and decisions of the government.
“Let me underscore the importance of a reliable local indicator system as a tool for governance, especially in making evidence-based decisions and informed policy choices and programs (in) achieving our collective goals for a sustained and inclusive development,” said DTI Cebu Provincial Director Nelia Navarro during the National Competitiveness Council Roadshow in Cebu City last Friday.
In a speech delivered before some local government officials and the Cebu business community, Navarro said the improvement in the Philippines’ ranking globally proves that the country has achieved an “unprecedented” level of confidence among the international business community.
What remains a challenge is making growth more inclusive.
“We need sustained growth that creates jobs, draws the majority into the economic and social mainstream, and substantially reduces mass poverty,” Navarro said.
“But the national government cannot do this alone. LGUs (local government units), NGAs (non-government associations), and the business enterprises are very much crucial in the country’s move toward economic prosperity,” she added.
In the competitiveness ranking released by NCC a few months ago, Cebu Province ranked the third most competitive province in the country, after Davao del Sur and Misamis Oriental.
The rankings considered three major indicators, namely: economic dynamism, government efficiency, and infrastructure.
Local indicators needed
Cebu City also ranked third in the top 10 highly urbanized cities in the Philippines after Manila and Makati.
In the international arena, the Philippines has advanced five more notches to No. 47 in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2015-2016, from No. 52 last year.
Since 2010, the country has risen 38 places from 85th in 2010, bringing the Philippines to the top third of the world rankings.
“As we continue to improve our monitoring system for capturing the overall global competitiveness rankings of the country, we need to identify objective and specific indicators of development and competitiveness at the local level that can be directly linked with the country’s global competitiveness rankings,” Navarro said.
The official noted that the local competitiveness indicators would be useful tools for identifying the kind of interventions needed to help lagging LGUs catch up.
The NCC through the Regional Competitiveness Committees (RCC) does the annual Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index.
The RCC is composed of the public and private sector. The former is headed by an official from the Regional Development Council (RDC), LGU and DTI. The latter is represented by local business clubs or a chamber of commerce.
Globally, the Philippines moved up in 10 of the 12 pillars of the index. According to NCC, based on the WEF rankings, the country’s strongest performing areas were labor market efficiency (up from 91st to 82nd); health and primary education (from 92nd to 86th); market size (from 35th to 30th); business sophistication (from 46th to 42nd); innovation (from 52nd to 48th); and macroeconomic environment (from 26th to 24th).
The Philippines also recorded improvements in technological readiness, financial market development, infrastructure, and higher education and training. On the other hand, institutions, one of the key drivers last year (79th to 67th), dropped ten spots from (67th to 77th). The country also dropped by ten spots in goods market efficiency (70th to 80th).