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'New mayors should learn from most competitive cities'

MANILA, Philippines--The cities of Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, and Dagupan have been named as the most competitive cities outside Metro Manila in the Philippine Cities Competitiveness Ranking Project 2009 (PCCRP) of the Asian Institute of Management Policy Center.

The study, which was launched Monday in Pasay City, used six criteria in ranking the 29 cities: dynamism of local economy, responsiveness of the LGUs to business, infrastructure, quality of life, and cost of doing business and human resource and training.

It is based on official government data, perception survey among businessmen, and interviews with local chief executives and local business group’s representative

The PCCRP also classified the cities into three groups: metropolitan growth centers, growth centers and emergent cities.

Cebu City bested Davao in the metro growth center category, which refers to cities with an average of P3.05 billion total income and average population of 1.08 million.

Cagayan de Oro, meanwhile, topped in the growth centers category, which included the cities of General Santos, Baguio, Lapu-Lapu, Zamboanga, Olongapo, Batangas, Iloilo, Bacolod, and Mandaue. These cities have an average income of P1.2 billion and population 421,165.

Dagupan City is the most competitive among the emergent cities. It bested the cities of Angeles, Butuan, Cotabato, Lucena, Naga, Legaspi, Pagadian, Puerto Princesa, Ormoc, Iligan, Tagum, and San Fernando in La Union, Surigao, Tuguegarao, Tacloban and Santiago.

Ma. Lourdes Sereno Diokno, executive director of the AIM Policy Center, said that they decided to group the cities into three brackets because it would be unfair to compare the metropolitan and highly-urbanized cities like Cebu and Davao to new and emerging young cities.

“Cebu City and Davao City outpaced the rest in many indicators,” added Ana Maria Tabunda, chief research fellow at Pulse Asia and consultant for the PCCRP 2009.

Roger Carlson, acting mission director of the USAID, one of the sponsors of the PCCRP, said that the findings of the study can guide the local officials in introducing policy changes in their localities.

“Newly-elected mayors can base their reform efforts on information that comes from business operators themselves,” Carlson said.

The PCCRP 2009 also recognized the cities that topped in each of the criteria used in the study. Below is a complete list of the winners:

Mayors of the winning cities said that the recognition they received should inspire their cities to do better and to sustain the reforms and policies they have started.

“This will serve as an impetus to us,” said Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat, whose city received three awards. He added that he is hoping that the awards can help them attracting investors who are afraid to invest in Zamboanga City because if the perception that it is not safe.

San Fernando City Mayor Pablo Ortega, meanwhile, said that his city’s efforts to address pollution and to simplify the process in applying and reviewing business permits helped them win four awards.

“We put up a one-stop shop for those who want to do business with us,” Ortega said. “The system is very transparent and because it is fast we are able to curb bribery. (Newsbreak)


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