In the back page of this issue is an article on the results of the 2019 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI), which ranked the local government units in terms of Economic Dynamism, Government Efficiency, Infrastructure, and Resilience.
Notably, the capital town of Virac, as a first-class municipality, and four other towns belonging to the 3rd to 6th class, made significant improvements in the 2019 CMCI.
From its 231st in 2018, Virac climbed to 132nd in its category with 37.2081 points, ranking 73rd in Economic Development, 243rd in Government Efficiency, 83rd in Infrastructure Development, and 307th in Resiliency.
Among 3rd to 6th class municipalities in Catanduanes, the towns of San Andres (364th), Bagamanoc (714th), Panganiban (741st) and Viga (833rd) advanced in the annual competitiveness rankings.
Four other towns’ competitiveness dropped in 2019, led by Bato, which fell a hundred spots from its lofty 2018 ranking of 32nd to 132nd in 2019; San Miguel, from 485th to 637th; Caramoran, from 689th to 757th; and, Pandan, from 571st to an island-worst 876th.
The last two, Baras (639th) and Gigmoto (808th), were not assessed in 2018 and thus there is basis for comparison.
The ordinary citizens would not be able to divine how their municipalities achieved the ranking, without looking into the ratings and rankings for the four convergent pillars as stated above.
It would not be fair to blame the low scores or rankings of the towns on its respective administrations in 2019 as it was an election year, although it would be entirely correct to dump it all on reelectionist mayors.
On the other hand, of the four pillars on which the LGUs were rated, one could say that the economy and infrastructure is not wholly a result of leadership but are the output of factors working either as one or independently of each other.
The size and growth of the local economy cannot be attributed to a particular administration, as it is bad business to link one’s investment to volatile local politics. LGUs have limited funds for infrastructure, especially big-ticket items that spur investments and growth, and are thus dependent on the national government for such life-changing building blocks.
Thus, it is in the scores and rankings for the other two pillars, Government Efficiency and Resiliency, that the hand of political administrations could be reasonably assessed.
In government efficiency, Virac ranked 243rd among first-class towns with 10.0057 points while Bato, a 3rd class municipality, was at 251st with 10.9423 points. They were the only LGUs in Catanduanes to place that high in their respective classes.
In resiliency, the capital town was at 307th with 16.0744 points, while Bato’s 17.1309 pushed it to 43rd in its category. Except for Baras (375th) and San Andres (395th), the other towns were ranked way below as far as their capacity to facilitate businesses and industries to create jobs, raise productivity, and increase the incomes of citizens over time despite of the shocks and stresses it encounters is concerned.
By the time the 2020 CMCI comes out in December 2021, the people of Catanduanes will have an idea of who among the 11 local chief executives really performed in decidedly the island’s worst year ever in the modern era.