Regions prodded to hone their edge

Attractiveness of the country’s regions to investors will soon be assessed according to measures that have just been drafted, the private sector head of the National Competitiveness Council of the Philippines (NCC) said early last week.

“Based on our agreements with multi-sectoral groups from all over the country, we have come up with a draft template wherein we will measure competitiveness based on six areas,” Guillermo M. Luz, NCC private sector co-chairman, told BusinessWorld at the sidelines of the 33rd National Conference of Employers at Manila Marriott Hotel on Tuesday last week.

Mr. Luz enumerated six general areas, each of which will have performance indicators, as: cost and ease of doing business, economy, government response to competitiveness needs, human resources and education, infrastructure development and risk reduction, and quality of life.

He explained that indicators will be used to identify and address local competitiveness issues. “Regional performance contributes to national competitiveness, so improving the competitiveness of regions will also boost our national attractiveness,” he said.

Mr. Luz explained further that regional competitiveness councils (RCCs), which are now being set up nationwide, will conduct the annual assessment. “Data will be collected on annual basis to analyze the competitiveness positioning of the regions,” he said, adding that regions’ assessments could focus on key cities, whole provinces or clusters of provinces.

“Once we get the area down, we will look for another area in Southeast Asia with similar demographics with which we can compare the region,” he explained.

Mr. Luz said RCCs have already been formed in Bicol, Western Visayas and Central Visayas.

He added that the NCC is targeting a total of eight RCCs by the end of June. “I am scheduled to meet with multi-sectoral committees in Cagayan de Oro City, Tacloban City, General Santos City, Davao City and Angeles City to set up [RCCs] in these regions [sic],” Mr. Luz said. “Once a council is already in place in a region, it can already start collecting data.”

NCC was formed in October 2006, under Executive Order No. 571, as a public-private sector task force to raise the country’s ranking in global competitiveness surveys “from the bottom the top third by 2016,” the council’s Web site read. Its private sector co-chairman has a government counterpart, in the person of Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo.

Last year, the Philippines ranked 75th out of 142 countries in the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report, 136th out of 183 countries in the International Finance Corp. Doing Business Survey; and 41st out of 85 countries in the International Institute for Management Development World Competitiveness Report.

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