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EDITORIAL: Kudos to Legazpi and Naga

A DOUBLE VICTORY it was for Bicolanos when the two cities of Legazpi and Naga garnered this year’s No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively, in the overall ranking of the most competitive component city award. Nothing is lost for Naga being finally overtaken by Legazpi, its sister city, in the topmost berth after 6 years that the latter has been doing its best since the prestigious award was launched in 2013 by the National Competitiveness Council (NCC). Never mind if a national newspaper got burned in its February 21, 2017 issue when it prematurely and falsely reported that Legazpi had overtaken Naga in the top slot even when the NCC had yet to announce its 2017 results in August of that year. It turned out later that Naga had indeed slid to No. 2 from No. 1 which it had held for two consecutive years in 2015 and 2016. And Legazpi City slid, too, to 5th place in 2017 from its 3rd rank in 2016. Rankings of Cities and Municipalities are based on the sum of their scores on 4 Pillars: Economic Dynamism, Government Efficiency, Infrastructure, and Resiliency. Legazpi City placed 1st in Infra Development and 2nd in Economic Dynamism. Interestingly, Naga placed 1st in Economic Dynamism and 2nd in Infra Development. Both ratings are worth emulating by other emerging cities that hope to give the best for their own people. Infrastructure Development, for which Legazpi City is top among the country’s component cities, measures the availability of necessary physical building blocks that connect and sustain a locality and its surroundings to enable provision of goods and services. Data involved includes existing road network, distance from major ports, availability of basic utilities, and internet connection, among others. The Economic Dynamism Pillar, on the other hand, where Naga City is champion among the component cities, measures the economic activity and productivity of an LGU, which include the size and growth of the local economy (business registrations, capital, revenue, and permits), capacity to generate jobs, cost of living, cost of business, and other trade and business-related inputs. The competitiveness index centers on sustainable competitiveness with the Resiliency dimension added as part of the index since 2017. Resiliency at the context of local level is defined as ability of the people, households, communities, and systems to mitigate, adapt to and recover from shocks and stresses and manner that reduces chronic vulnerability and facilitates inclusive growth. It is worth noting that since its inception in 2013, Naga had already been in the Top Ten ranking, No. 9 in 2013 and No. 3 in 2014 when cities were not yet divided into highly urbanized on one hand and the component cities on the other. At that time, Naga was pitted against such mega cities as Cebu and Manila where Naga already amazingly placed No. 1 in infrastructure (2013) and No. 1 in Government Efficiency (2014). When the component city category was introduced in 2015, Naga immediately leapfrogged to the No. 1 spot with perfect No. 1 ratings in economic dynamism, infrastructure, and government efficiency. An emerging Legazpi City, meanwhile, placed 3rd in the 2016 ranking and 5th in 2017. And now, it has romped away with the top spot that it deserves as this year’s most competitive component city. BY THE WAY, the fiesta bazaar, or whatever they call it, around Plaza Rizal in downtown Naga is by any measure ugly and indignifying and should be removed from there pronto. It threw out of the window all the ordinances and brilliant ideas that the city’s past and present administrations had mulled and crafted with the noble intention of providing proper traffic safety rules and, more importantly, respect for hallowed ground.

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