BAGUIO CITY – The Regional Development Council Economic Development Committee held its last quarterly meeting of the year on November 4 to discuss the economic development concerns of the region and the involvement of the private sector in government projects, programs, and activities.  The committee welcomed three new members from the private sector namely; Riesel Tocyapao of the Uma Unoy Farmers Organization, Marcelo Abena of the Community-Based Business Cooperation Foundation, Inc. (CBBCFI),  Jimmy Kayog of the Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Service (CordDis RDS).

During the meeting, DTI-CAR presented the ranking of Cordillera Local Government Units in the recently conducted Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI). In the CMCI, LGUs are ranked based on four indicators: economic dynamism, government efficiency, infrastructure, and resiliency.

Among all 76 provinces, Benguet ranked 10th in overall competitiveness. Baguio City ranked 18th among highly urbanized cities but placed 4th among most improved. Alfonso Lista, Ifugao despite ranking as the 28th most competitive among 884 municipalities also ranked 3rd in the economic dynamism indicator.  Pablo noted that several LGUs that have once been in the top 10 or 20 in some indicators in past years have slid down. The Economic Development Committee agreed to discuss index results with the Cordillera LGUs and where they can improve. The other provinces in the Cordillera had an overall rank lower than Benguet with Ifugao at 29, Kalinga at 45, Mountain Province at 54, Abra at 60 and Apayao at 68.

“We want to promote investment in our areas and the CMCI is a good indicator used by investors before they decide to invest their money in an area”, said Economic Development Committee Chair and DTI-CAR Regional Director Myrna Pablo. The CMCI includes key indicators such as the growth of the local economy, existing road networks, accommodation capacity, and compliance to national directives, among many others.

The other topics Economic Development Committee were updates on the Ibag’iw Arts Festival to be conducted from November 16 to 24, the DTI-funded SLU Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab) and the YMCA Design Museum.

NEDA-CAR Regional Director Milagros Rimando had earlier emphasized the importance of having representatives from the private sector during committee meetings of the Regional Development Council.  Thus, other sectoral committees have also increased their membership to include civil society organizations from the private sector.