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UNHERALDED IRIGA IS IN TOP 10 CITY LIST, TOO: No Bicol province in elite competitiveness ranking

By Jose B. Perez, Editor NAGA CITY – While everyone was rejoicing over the news that the Bicol cities of Legazpi and Naga had been declared by the National Competitiveness Council as the most outstanding and the second most outstanding component cities in the country, respectively, little was it known how the Bicol provinces actually fared in the competitiveness index of the country’s local government units. This was because while the top ten LGUs (province, highly-urbanized/component cities, and municipalities) have been announced during the awarding ceremonies held last August 9 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila, the complete ranking for the provinces, cities and municipalities came out in the NCC website ( only very recently, with complete corresponding scores albeit lacking. 3 not 2 And also to our surprise -- because it was not previously fairly played up -- there were actually three cities in Bicol that made it to the elite Top Ten list for most competitive component cities. Iriga City in Camarines Sur was ranked 9th overall, placing 4th in Resiliency, 10th in Economic Dynamism, 13th in Infrastructure Development, and 16th in Economic Dynamism. Rankings of Cities and Municipalities are based on the sum of their scores on 4 Pillars: Economic Dynamism, Government Efficiency, Infrastructure, and Resiliency. NCC said provincial rankings are based on population and income weighted average of the Overall scores of cities and municipalities under a province, which partly explains why Camarines Sur and Albay have at least landed in the Top 50 ranking of all provinces in the country. Suffice it to say, Camarines Sur has at least two cities in the Top Ten list while Albay has one. The provincial ranking was topped by Rizal, followed by Laguna, and Davao del Norte in that receding order. Camarines Sur was ranked 24th overall, Albay 29th, Camarines Norte 55th, Sorsogon 68th, and Masbate 72nd. The island province of Catanduanes was not even mentioned in the Top 100 list. Among the municipalities, none of the First and Second Class Municipalities in Bicol made it to the Top 100, except for Polangui, Albay which was ranked 46th. Looking back, Daet in Camarines Norte made it as the No. 1 First Class Municipality about five years ago. It never came back, not even in the Top 20 or Top 100 list, after that. In the 3rd to 6th Class Municipality category, Tigaon and Bato in Camarines Sur were ranked 21st and 32nd, respectively. Nothing more followed. Bicol, which hit the highest inflation rate in August -- 9% against the national average of 6.4% -- is among the poorest regions in the country. Its upside, however, is that 3 of its 7 component cities made it to this year’s Top 10 ranking. The LGU competitiveness ranking by the NCC adopted the framework developed by Michael Porter, which is also being used in a number of global surveys on competitiveness. Porter’s definition of competitiveness focused on the idea of productivity. Productivity is defined as output per unit of input. Effectively, it attempts to measure how many final products can be produced using a limited number of inputs. Productivity also requires that efficient outputs command value in the local up to the global marketplace. Porter defines competitiveness as based on location and is essentially the productivity that companies located there can achieve (Porter,2004). He explains location as a country’s underlying source of its resources and productivity as how the country uses these resources. Using the same lens, local competitiveness is how a city or municipality knows its resources and how it uses these to improve its standard of living. Naga vs Legazpi Meanwhile, the NCC has to explain why Legazpi topped Naga in the latest component city ranking while the latter outranked the former in 3 of the 4 pillars of competitiveness used in the overall ranking. According to the summary of rankings but where corresponding actual scores were not yet made available on the aforementioned website as of this reporting period, Naga came first in Economic Dynamism where Legazpi was second. Moreover, Naga was 9th in Government Efficiency where Legazpi was 14th, and Naga was ranked 6th in Resiliency where Legazpi was 16th. It was only in Infrastructure category that Legazpi was ranked No. 1 where Naga was No. 2. When queried by this reporter, a source from the Regional Competitiveness Committee of the NCC hinted that Legazpi may have outrun Naga in the over-all scoring. Unfortunately, such scores have not yet been made available by the NCC website – they were simply marked “N/A” or “No data available on table” as of the moment – even as the glitter that attended the awarding ceremonies held last month had long settled.

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