National Competitive Council pushes for more work groups on PHL issues (GMA News)

As part of its push for the country's long-term competitiveness, the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) is setting up more working groups to deal with specific issues that continue to haunt the Philippine economy.

"It is notable that the Philippines has made breakthroughs in global competitive reports, but declines in some indices point to the need for improvements in areas like infrastructure, education, research and development, and disaster response," NCC co-chairman Guillermo Luz said in his year-end message.

The NCC is a special government-created task force composed of representatives from the private sector and chaired jointly by Luz and Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo.
"We have learned that focusing on implementation yields results...  Maintaining that focus on implementation will be the country’s big challenge [this] year," Luz said.
"While our existing working groups continue to address such issues, we have organized new groups on National Quality Infrastructure and Services to address issues and accelerate gains in those sectors. A new group on Science and Technology is also being set up to close the innovation gap," he said.
Public-private collaboration will have a major role in the major issues and the NCC's Task Force on Doing Business will push for more reforms to meet even tougher challenges ahead, Luz said.
To have be more competitive in the local scene, the public-private sector body will also add more local government units (LGU) in its Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index, which covers 535 LGUs.
"We will push the envelope and add even more LGUs, bringing our total coverage to over 1,000," Luz said.
The NCC also launched the Liveable Cities Design Challenge, an urban planning and design  competition, to encourage cities to plan and design for resilience and liveability.
"Mentored by architects and urban planners, 15 participating cities delivered designs for a government/evacuation center and an APEC meeting venue," Luz said.
"This is the first step towards mainstreaming principles of liveable, resilient, sustainable, and competitive growth," he added.
As revealed in the World Bank's 2013 Worldwide Governance Indicators, the Philippines has shown vast improvement in aggregate indicators like Control of Corruption and Political Stability and Absence of Violence.
The report, however, highlighted the country has begun to show signs of stagnation on indicators measuring Government Effectiveness, illustrating that it needs to renew efforts to deliver public services better.
Luz said the NCC has started laying the groundwork for certain projects that will institutionalize good governance practices.
"First, in line with our hosting of APEC this 2015, we have launched the Islands of Good Governance campaign with the Institute of Solidarity in Asia," he said.
In the scorecard system, more than 20 national government agencies and local government units subject themselves to external audits.
"We aim to showcase these audited breakthrough results in 2015 as proof of our commitment to good governance," Luz said.
The NCC official said they are also reviewing certain policies at the national, departmental, and local levels have made it difficult to reduce the cost of compliance and enforcement and consequently hinder efficient public service delivery.
"We are currently studying  an idea called “Project Repeal” to identify outdated laws that are long due for repeal and  plan to organize a team to facilitate its implementation in partnership with Congress," Luz said.

By: Danessa O. Rivera
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