DVO and CDO mixed on competitiveness rankings

Subscribe Now August 11, 2014 at 08:31am

Mindanao's two most highly urbanized cities, Davao and Cagayan de Oro, are listed among the top ten most competitive cities in the country in data released Thursday by the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), but the news was received differently by the respective local governments and business sectors.

For Davao, its fourth-place ranking was no reason to celebrate because the city government believes it should be at a higher position.

"Davao is underrated at No. 4. I still believe Davao should be up there in the top 2," said Ivan C. Cortez, Davao City Investment Promotion Center chief.

Mr. Cortez also criticized NCC’s data collection process, which placed Davao at number 81 in the first survey last year.

This year’s list is based on NCC’s second survey covering 136 cities using 28 indicators.

Mr. Cortez said the city was ranked low last year because of a "miscommunication" among the agencies that handled data submission and the NCC.

"Despite this, the evaluation committee did not validate the lack of information they had and just placed a score of zero in most categories so Davao ended up at the lowest rank," he said.

For Davao’s private sector, meanwhile, the ranking is not an entirely accurate reflection of the city’s competitiveness as an investment area.

"We have to strive to be number one in government efficiency because that’s the true measure of governance. If you have good governance, then you become very competitive," said Vicente T. Lao, chair of the Mindanao Business Council.

Mr. Lao noted that the city’s rank was driven by indicators under the infrastructure category, where Davao was number one, and this could largely be attributed to private sector investments.

Davao City was number one in terms of infrastructure with a score of 16.29, besting Cagayan de Oro, Marikina City, Makati, and Cebu at second to fifth.

In government efficiency, the city ranked thirteenth.

"Government has very little control over infrastructure while government efficiency is totally controlled by the local government unit," Mr. Lao said.

The NCC’s infrastructure category includes ten indicators: road network, distance between city/municipality center to major ports, tourism-accredited acccommodations, health infrastructure, education enfrastructure, basic utilities, annual investments in infrastructure, information and communication technology connection, number of automatic teller machines and number of public transportation vehicles.

Aside from infrastructure and government efficiency, the NCC uses economic dynamism as another category.

On the other hand, Alex V. Buenaventura, president of One Network Bank, a rural bank with 92 of its 102 branches in Mindanao, applauded Davao’s ranking: "To be Top 4 is great for Davao in terms of inviting both local and foreign investors, attracting more tourists and attracting more migrants to reside in Davao resulting to economic growth rate higher than the nationwide GDP (gross domestic product)."

Meanwhile, in Cagayan de Oro, which dropped to second from first last year, both the local government and the business sector welcomed the city’s sustained position within the top 10.

"We are elated by this report and the recognition is an affirmation of the kagay-anon’s (referring to locals) firm and conscious resolve to make this city not just a city but a great city," said Jerome R. Soldevilla, CdO Chamber of Industry president and spokesperson of STEAG State Power Inc. (SPI).

For the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Inc., former president and now trustee Rodolfo L. Meñes, said, "All sectors have worked hard to fulfill its (Cagayan de Oro’s) potential due to its strategic location as a hub."

Cagayan de Oro is the regional center of Northern Mindanao.

Local Economic and Investment Promotions Officer Eileen Canoy Escobar-San Juan said while the city suffered from the impact of a bombing incident at a popular commercial center in July last year, recovery is evident in terms of real estate investments and the influx of tourists.

"It (the bombing) was very felt by the tourism industry... Conferences and events were cancelled. But now tourism is picking up again. We are actually hoping for a major convention facility that can really house events. This would drive visits to the city," Ms. San Juan said.

The local government is also developing a "cultural village" in the southern part of the city along with new tour packages for the region to attract visitors in Northern Mindanao, with Cagayan de Oro as the jump-off point.

The government is also institutionalizing a one-stop shop for business registration to hasten the issuance of permits.

Major investments in real estate development are also being poured in, according to Ms. San Juan, particularly for condominium projects.

"People start coming in, bringing their families," she said.

In anticipation of population growth due to urban migration, Ms. San Juan said the city administration is prioritizing health and education facilities. "There will have to be basic services that can accommodate them," she said.

Five cities in Metro Manila were in the top 10 with Makati as first. Naga City in Bicol Region was the only one in Luzon outside the National Capital Region to be included at 3rd. Iloilo and Cebu in the Visayas were sixth and seventh, respectively.

Source: bworldonline.com

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