AS everyone looks forward to a more prosperous year in 2014, perhaps it is worth looking back to see how Naga City and other local government units in Bicol for that matter fared in bringing about economic development and service delivery during the year just passed.
This way, too, these LGUs will be able to see their strengths and weaknesses and equip them better in doing their tasks as service providers to their constituents.
In last year’s 1st Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index held at the Regional Competitiveness Summit in Makati City, cities and towns all over the country were ranked to determine their competitiveness based on indicators that measured each LGU’s Economic Dynamism, Government Efficiency, and Infrastructure.
It is worthwhile to note that out of the 122 cities and 163 municipalities included in the ranking, Naga City and the capital town of Daet, CamNorte held the top marks in the infrastructure category, respectively. Daet was also ranked fourth among the most competitive municipalities throughout the country.
Still, Naga was ranked 5th in the government efficiency category with a score of 20.10 where, incidentally, four other Bicol cities made it to the Top Ten in this category.
These are Ligao City (6th, with a score of 20.08), Iriga City (7th, with a score of 19.88), Tabaco City (8th, with a score of 19.81), and Legazpi City (9th, with a score of 19.77).
The top three cities in the government efficiency category were Quezon City; Koronadal, South Cotabato; and Marikina City.
Government efficiency tracks transparency and accountability, public finance, performance recognition, business responsiveness, and basic government services.
In the infrastructure category, data on indicators such as road network, basic facilities, and registered vehicles are considered.
Following Naga (with a score of 29.54) in this category are San Fernando City, Pampanga (with a score of 28.58), and Cagayan de Oro City (with a score of 28.30).
The top municipalities were Daet, Camarines Norte; Mexico, Pampanga; and Virac, Catanduanes, another Bicol town.
Initiated by the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), together with the United States Agency for International Development (USAid) under the INVEST Project, the Competitiveness Index is composed of roughly 30 weighted indicators measuring Economic Dynamism, Government Efficiency, and Infrastructure.
Out of the 122 cities and 163 municipalities included in the report, Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental was ranked the most competitive city overall. Rounding out the top five cities were Iloilo City, Iloilo; San Fernando, Pampanga; Butuan City, Agusandel Norte; and Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. The most competitive municipality was San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, followed by Guagua, Pampanga; Carmona, Cavite; Daet, CamNorte; and General Trias, Cavite.
While more than half of the top 50 cities and top 50 municipalities were located in Luzon, it is interesting to note that the highest-ranked city and municipality were both in Mindanao.
The results indicate that government initiatives to harness the potential of the Mindanao region are on the right track.
At the Mindanao Development Forum held last February in Davao, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic Development Authority Director General Arsenio M Balisacan said that Mindanao “could spur higher growth for our country and contribute immensely in the attainment of the inclusive development agenda.”
In the Economic Dynamism category, on the other hand, the top three cities were Quezon City; Koronadal, South Cotobato; and Marikina City.
The top municipalities were Calasiao, Pangasinan; San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte; and Sta Cruz, Laguna.
Economic dynamism collects figures on business registration, employment, and financial institutions, among others.
After last year’s summit, the NCC will be conducting the competitiveness index report annually to provide LGUs a means to evaluate performance and formulate development plans.
According to NCC Private Sector Co-Chairman Guillermo M Luz, the report will not only provide potential investors with information on cities and municipalities but also enable local governments to better manage themselves.
Based on the indicators, local governments can now benchmark their performance against each other and eventually against other cities in the ASEAN.
Department of Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Austere A Panadero also discussed the Seal of Competitiveness to encourage LGUs to become more business-friendly and competitive. For his part, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary and NCC Chairman Gregory L Domingo emphasized the need for collaboration between the national and local governments, as well as the public and private sectors, in fine-tuning a comprehensive national competitiveness plan.
The summit itself was aimed to track competitiveness indicators, formulate programs to improve competitiveness, and engage in investment promotion activities to attract investors and create more jobs. – Bicol Mail