6 Mindanao provinces top competitiveness ranking

SIX Mindanao provinces made it to the top 10 of the 2015 Cities and Municipalities Competitive Index of the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) reflecting economic dynamism, government efficiency, and infrastructure growth of the island-region in the recent years.

Four Mindanao provinces dominated the top five most competitive provinces with Davao del Sur leading the pack as the most competitive province in the Philippines with an overall score of 46.11, followed by Misamis Oriental in second with an overall score of 38.93.

South Cotabato placed fourth with a score of 36.42, while Zamboanga del Sur ranked fifth with a score of 35.88. Agusan del Norte, on the other hand placed seventh with a score of 35.70 while Camiguin ranked tenth with 34.21.

“These rankings are indicators that efforts from both government and private sectors to push for Mindanao’s increased competitiveness and growth are now bearing fruits,” said Usec. Janet Lopoz, executive director of Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) during a program overview for the Southern Mindanao Industrial Tour held recently here at Park Inn Radisson Hotel.

She added the high placement of Mindanao provinces and LGUs in the recent rankings also firms up Mindanao’s position as a major business and investment destination in the Philippines.

According to the NCC, the scoring of the qualified provinces are based on population and income weighted average of the overall scores of cities and municipalities under a province.

In the cities ranking, Davao City and Cagayan de Oro clinched positions in the top 10 most competitive cities ranking fifth and sixth respectively.

Three municipalities from SOCCSKSARGEN on the other hand made it to the top 10 in the “all municipalities category,” namely, Kabacan, Midsayap, and Polomolok, placing fourth, eighth and tenth, respectively. The three municipalities also placed similar ranks in the first class and second class municipalities category, with Midsayap clinching the ninth place.

Under the third and sixth class municipalities category, Mambajao, Camiguin was awarded the most competitive municipality while Nasipit in Agusan del Norte placed fourth.

The ranking of the cities and municipalities are based on their economic dynamism, government efficiency, and infrastructure.

Economic dynamism refers to activities that create stable expansion of business and industries and higher employment while government efficiency refers to quality and reliability of government services and support for effective and sustainable productive expansion. Infrastructure on the other hand refers to physical building blocks that connects, expands and sustains a locality and its surroundings to enable the provision of goods and services.

“We hope that in the coming years, more Mindanao provinces and LGUs will make it in the top list of the NCC Competitive Index, particularly with the infrastructure projects that are in the pipeline under the Mindanao Development Corridors program,” Lopoz said.

The Corridors program is a key spatial strategy that will help pave the way for a connected and globally-competitive Mindanao. It aims to improve infrastructure, establish connectivity, and spur the development growth clusters within Mindanao, allowing it to achieve balanced and inclusive growth among its regions.

“The infrastructure projects covers transport, logistics, information communication technology (ICT) connectivity, and power,” Lopoz said.

She said through the Corridors program, the government is targeting to physically integrate the entire Mindanao to allow a smooth and efficient flow of trade, goods, and services.“The infrastructure projects will interconnect and intersect industry hubs with Mindanao’s existing and potential international gateways – Davao City, General Santos City, Cagayan de Oro City, Zambooanga City, and the provinces of Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi” she added.

Lopoz said the infrastructure projects will usher efficient flow of trade and transport of goods. For example, some of the proposed road projects will provide traders shorter routes to their preferred destinations.

One of the major road projects that is being pushed through the Corridors Program is the 46.88 kilometer (km) Davao City Bypass Road with a project cost of P16 billion. The bypass road will start in Toril and then intersect with the Davao-Bukidnon Road and towards the end of Lasang.

The project will be divided into two construction packages, the first package, which is the South section of the road, will be 31.08 km with a 2.28 km tunnel while the second package, the North section of the road, will be 15.78 km long.

“The national government is now negotiating with the Japan International Cooperation Agency for the funding of the South section of the road,” Lopoz said, while adding “the second package, which is the North section will be proposed for local government financing.”

She explained that the Davao City Bypass Road will allow farmers and businessmen in the Bukidnon area, one of the major food baskets of Mindanao to cut their travel short if they are going to the Northwestern and Western parts of Mindanao.

“Those coming from the Southeastern and Eastern parts of Mindanao, like Kidapawan and Davao del Sur, can access the bypass road and will no longer have to go through the main streets of the city proper,” she said.

Lopoz explained the road project is also in anticipation of the continued urban growth of Davao City and will decongest the streets of the major growth hub.

She said that aside from the interconnected road projects, the ports, particularly the major ports in the South Central Mindanao Development Corridor, will also be integrated to serve as one gateway to the South.“Mindanao is receiving a lot of interest and attention due to its increasing competiveness, and this is the right time for both private and government sectors to work harder in shaping a better socioeconomic landscape for the island-region,” Lopoz said.

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