SouthCot wants more localities to be in most competitive list

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 22 Aug) – The provincial government of South Cotabato is pushing for the inclusion by next year of more localities in the area in the country’s list of most competitive cities and municipalities.

Emmanuel Jumilla, assistant head of the South Cotabato Provincial Planning and Development Office, said Friday they are currently working with the province’s local government units (LGUs) in the implementation of various reforms to help them become more competitive.

He said the initiative is mainly focused on initiatives that would improve economic dynamism, government efficiency and infrastructure in their areas.

Such factors were set by the National Competitiveness Council as the focal areas or pillars of the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) 2014 released earlier this month.

Four municipalities in South Cotabato made it to the list of top 25 most competitive cities and municipalities based on the result of the CMCI 2014.

The agri-industrial town of Polomolok ranked 8th, followed by Tupi at 13th, T’boli at 20th and Surallah at 21st place.

Jumilla said Tupi was ranked second in terms of government efficiency while Polomolok placed 6th in economic dynamism.

He said two other towns in the province – Lake Sebu and Tantangan – landed at the bottom half of the rankings at 316th and 325th, respectively.

Jumilla said South Cotabato presently holds the record as the province with the most number of municipalities included in the top 25 of the CMCI.

It bested Rizal and Cavite provinces with three each and with the rest of the provinces with only one each.

Economic dynamism scores were based on data about the size and growth of the local economy as measured by business registrations, capital, revenues, and occupancy permits; capacity to generate employment; cost of living; cost of doing business; financial deepening; productivity; and presence of business and professional organizations.

Government efficiency rankings were based on data on transparency scores, economic governance scores, local taxes and revenues, local competition-related awards, business registration efficiency, investment promotion, compliance to national directives, security, health and education.

Infrastructure scores were based on data on existing road network, distance from city/municipality center to major ports, Department of Tourism-accredited accommodations, health infrastructure, education infrastructure, basic utilities, infrastructure investments, Information and Communication Technology connection, automated teller machines or ATMs and public transportation.

“We’re currently addressing these gaps at the LGU levels,” said Jumilla, who is also the province’s economic and investment promotions officer.

He added that they have partnered with various government agencies and the private sector in coming up with specific strategies to improve the competitiveness of the province’s 10 towns and lone city within the next few years.