THE Department of Trade and Industry has called for the strengthening of partnership with local government units in pushing for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as driver of economic growth for the country.

DTI–Cordillera regional director Myrna Pablo made the call to newly elected local chief executives in the region during a briefing on the 2016 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI).

This is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte's 10-point socio-economic agenda, particularly on strengthening the competitiveness and ease of doing business in every part of the country.

Under such goal, Pablo outlined the importance of providing support to MSMEs as critical driver for the country’s economic growth given that the sector it is accountable for the majority of the establishments in the country that comprises 61.2 percent of the employment opportunities available.

For the partnership, Pablo informed that DTI will continue to bring its programs and services that aim to improve the productivity and competitiveness of MSMEs. Among these are the Negosyo Centers, Business Processing and Licensing System, and Shared Service Facility.

For the CMCI, which DTI, in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the National Competitiveness Council of the Philippines is conducting, Pablo explained it is not being conducted to raise a competition among LGUs or among municipalities, provinces, component cities or highly urbanized cities but rather to have a measure on how they are performing in terms of economic dynamism, government efficiency and infrastructure development.

It is a measure on how competitive each LGUs in the Cordillera region, compared to the other parts of the country, so that the LCEs, especially the newly elected officials, will have a basis on what programs, services and policies are needed to be done, to improve or increase the competitiveness level of their respective communities, she elaborated.

DILG assistant regional director Jonathan Leusen also outlined the importance of LCEs as front line service of the government in improving the competitiveness of their locality as well as in improving the lives of their constituents.

During a recent CMCI assessment in the Cordilleras, Tublay in Benguet ranked 20 among 755 3rd to 6th class municipalities while La Trinidad ranked 26th among 490 1st to 2nd class municipalities. Tabuk City on the other hand ranked 76th among110 component cities while Baguio City ranked 14th among 34 highly urbanized cities that participated in the competitiveness survey nationwide. (Carlito Dar/PIA-CAR)