For the second straight year, the municipality of Bato has placed in the top 10 among 5th to 6th class towns nationwide in the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) 2021 rankings released by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) last week.
Although its national ranking fell by three from the 6th it earned in 2020, Bato maintained its lofty position among Bicol towns in the category, with the closest counterpart the town of Barcelona, Sorsogon at 104th place.
With a total score of 40.0843 points, the only Bicol town in the top 100 was third nationwide in terms of infrastructure, 6th in resiliency, 8th in government efficiency and 144th in economic dynamism, where it rated low in economic growth and employment increase.
In the same category, Baras LGU, with a score of 31.9370, moved up from 229th in 2020 to its present ranking of 149th while Panganiban LGU (29.2525) rose to 190th, 16 places up from its previous ranking of 206th.
Also improving its ranking was Bagamanoc LGU (28.2550), from 231st in 2020 to 222nd this year.
But the town of San Miguel (28.5984) fell from 186th in 2020 to 218th last year, or a drop of 32 places.
Also falling behind is Gigmoto LGU (26.4336), which was 250th compared to its previous ranking of 215th.
Among 3rd to 4th class municipalities, two of the four Catanduanes towns in the list went up in the competitiveness rankings where only two Bicol towns were in the top 150.
The island’s second biggest town, San Andres (30.2708) was ranked 415th, down from its 2020 rank of 373rd.
The assessment said it ranked low in economic size, cost of doing business, social protection, LGU investment and utilities.
Pandan (28.1311), which was 611th in 2020, climbed up to 516th while Caramoran (26.6253) slightly edged upwards from 567th to 564th.
The town of Viga (21.3269) also fell from 591st in 2020 to its present position at 627th, just seven spots above Bicol’s tailender, Juban in Sorsogon.
For the 1st to 2nd class municipalities, the highest placed Bicol town is Daet, Camarines Norte (34.4921) at 102nd, followed by nine more from the region before Virac (30.9284) was mentioned at 329th.
The capital town dropped down the rankings by more than 200 places from its 2020 ranking of 117th.
From its 221st place in 2016, it improved to 253rd in 2017, 231st in 2018, and 132nd in 2019 before reaching its highest point two years ago.
Virac ranked 461st in Economic Dynamism, pulled down by the high cost of doing business; 290th in Government Efficiency, due to inefficient business registration and low capacity to generate local revenue sources; a relatively high 56th in Infrastructure dragged down by inadequate road network and LGU investment; and 378th in Resiliency, attributed to lack of utilities, emergency infrastructure, sanitary system and budget for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan (DRRMP).
Among the nation’s component cities, Naga City (53.0220) placed 1st and was joined in the top 10 by Legazpi City (46.9244) at 5th place.
Here’s how the other Bicol cities fared: Iriga (38.3296), 30th; Sorsogon (36.3572), 41st; Ligao (35.2149), 53rd; Masbate (33.7488), 61st; and Tabaco (31.2196), 98th.
With their scores based on those earned by their component towns, the Bicol provinces’ rankings in the 2021 CMCI index are as follows: Albay (34.4860), 22nd; Camarines Sur (32.9747), 42nd; Camarines Norte (30.8515), 65th; Catanduanes (29.5446), 73rd; Masbate (29.0747), 74th; and Sorsogon (28.9758), 75th.
The Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index is an annual ranking of Philippine cities and municipalities developed by the National Competitiveness Council through the Regional Competitiveness Committees (RCCs) with the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development.
Cities and municipalities are ranked on their competitiveness based on an overall competitiveness score, which is the sum of scores on four main pillars of economic dynamism, government efficiency, infrastructure and resiliency. The higher the score of a city or municipality, the more competitive it is.
The Index can be used as a diagnostic tool by local government officials to assess the competitiveness of their city or municipality and identify areas for improvement and collaboration. Data can provide insights for policymaking, development planning and investment promotion.
For the business community, the Index can serve as a guide in deciding where to locate. Aside from the overall score, data on the different indicators will prove valuable depending on the specific needs of their business.
The Index also paints a general picture of Philippine cities and municipalities which may be used by the academe, civil society and even tourists as a take-off point for further research.