Cagayan de Oro has retained its 7th Place Rank in the Philippines’ Most Competitive Highly Urbanized Cities ranking in 2021.

Besides its Top 7 ranking, Cagayan de Oro was also tagged as the 6th Most Improved Highly Urbanized City in the recently concluded virtual awarding rites of the 9th Regional Competitiveness Summit of the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) conducted on 14 December 2021 by the  Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) together with the Ayala Corporation and Globe Telecom.

The CMCI is an annual ranking of Philippine cities and municipalities developed by the National Competitiveness Council through the Regional Competitiveness Committees with the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development.

Cities and municipalities are ranked through a set of indicators such as economic dynamism, government efficiency, infrastructure and resiliency.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the CMCI allows LGUs to assess their relative level of competitiveness and derive insights for local policymaking and planning.

“The CMCI Program has also continued to be instrumental in providing data for investors and local chief executives from which they draw meaningful insights and strategic imperative,” Lopez said.

Lopez said the pillar of innovation was introduced this year and will be included as the fifth pillar in the scoring and ranking beginning next year.

“Now more than ever, we realize the importance of innovation. They have played a crucial role in keeping societies functional in times of quarantines or lockdowns. The same technologies would be needed as we restart the economy and prepare for the post crisis future,” he said.

Lopez disclosed 109 LGUs participated in this year’s CMCI from last year’s 36 LGUs.

Cagayan de Oro City bested other highly urbanized cities Metro Manila cities such as Pasay and Valenzuela, and Cebu in the Visayas, and was the second most competitive highly urbanized city in Mindanao after Davao, which slid to No. 4 from No. 2 last year.

Davao City was displaced in the top three most competitive cities during this year’s CMCI after data from Quezon City local government unit (LGU) were captured for CMCI 2021.

No data from Quezon City were captured in the previous year’s index.

The city ranked No. 2 in the Resiliency Pillar, No. 7 in the Infrastructure Pillar, where it faced off with highly urbanized cities of Metro Manila such as Pasay, Quezon City, Manila, Pasig and Muntinlupa, and Cebu, Bacolod and Iloilo in the Visayas and Davao in Mindanao.

“We ranked high in the Resiliency Pillar because we successfully achieved all the target points in this pillar,” said Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar S. Moreno. “In each of the four pillars, there are points that the LGU has to meet for it to be on top. Very difficult to be on top in every point for a pillar.”

“In our case, we invested heavily in our resiliency programs, from equipment and tools, manpower and competencies, systems and modalities, team management, vehicles and others,” he added.

“After the Sendong calamity, our slogan has always been: “Never again to Sendong!”

In a bow to its lofty ranking, the city recently survived Typhoon Odette, the most destructive tropical cyclone to hit the Philippines in 2021 with zero casualties, and negligible damage compared to other cities and provinces which were hit with the full force of the highly destructive weather disturbance.

Cagayan de Oro has also recorded the lowest incidence of covid-infections to date among highly urbanized cities ranked in this year’s CMCI.

According to the CMCI, “resiliency is the capacity of a locality to facilitate businesses and industries to create jobs, raise productivity, and increase the incomes of citizens over time despite the shocks and stresses it encounters.”

“This implies that the role of local governments is critical in ensuring a competitive environment to make businesses sustain their profits, create jobs, and increase the productivity of its people. In order for localities to be able to do this, it must be resilient in its infrastructure, governance, social and environmental systems,” it added.

The resiliency ranking is based on the following: Organization and Coordination: Land Use Plan, Disaster Risk Reduction Plan, Annual Disaster Drill, and Early Warning System; Resiliency Financing: Budget for DRRMP; Resiliency Reports: Local Risk Assessments; Resiliency Infrastructure: Emergency Infrastructure and Utilities; and, Resilience of System: Employed Population, and Sanitary System.

The Cagayan de Oro Filipino-Chinese Community and Misamis Oriental Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry were one of the biggest donors of medical and other supplies to local hospitals and frontliners, even going as far as to import covid-19 vaccines directly from China for the vaccination of their members and workers. (photo courtesy of Jeffrey Ang)

The Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc. (Oro Chamber), believes it has contributed substantially to the Resiliency of System for the Employed Population with its Orobest Bridge Program.

“At the onset of the pandemic, Orochamber launched the Orobest Bridge Program which helped facilitated in actualizing priorities for MSMEs and start-ups to navigate their businesses to be resilient, relevant and recover during the covid-19 setting,” said Oro Chamber President Ruben A. Vegafria.

“In fact, Orobest Innovation Program was cited in the World Intellectual Property Organization, INSEAD and Cornell University, as one of the factors contributing to the rise of the Philippine ranking in the Global Innovation Index from 100th as early as 2014 to 50th in 2020,” Vegafria stressed.

Furthermore, Cagayan de Oro was also cited in July 2021 by StartupBlink, a global start-up ecosystem map and research center, indicating its rank at 493, jumping 87 spots since 2020 in the latest global startup ecosystem rankings.

“This report also ranks the city at #3 in the Philippines and # 14th in South East Asia. Interestingly, 9 out of the 17 startups were enlisted in the Orobest Bridge Program,” Vegafria noted.

“These 2 great scorecards are a source of pride and testament on how Oro Chamber played a collaborative and vital role in strengthening the government-industry-academe (GIA) partnership, and in effect, helping put Cagayan de Oro in the competitive spotlight,” he added.

Meanwhile, Camiguin province ranked as the top 3 most competitive province in the CMCI 2021, with Rizal and Davao del Norte as the top 2.

Naga City topped the ranking among component cities, followed by Antipolo and Tagum.

For Class 1 and 2 municipalities, the top three winners are Cainta, Rizal; Baliwag, Bulacan; and San Mateo, Rizal.  For Class 3 and 4, Panglao, Bohol; Mambajao, Camiguin; and Baler, Aurora; while for Class 5 and 6, the topnotchers were Roxas, Zamboanga del Norte; General Luna, Surigao del Norte; and Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.

Cover photo: Metro Cagayan de Oro by Night (Photo courtesy of Tom Udasco Photography)

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