Beyond competitiveness, Manolo Fortich mayor says end to poverty ultimate measure

MANOLO FORTICH, Bukidnon (BukidnonNews.Net/28 August 2017) This town topped the ranking in Northern Mindanao and placed 21st nationwide in the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) this year, a feat welcomed by municipal mayor Clive Quiño. But he said their eyes are set beyond rankings – they need to end poverty in their communities.

Quiño told BukidnonNews.Net in an interview on August 22 all of the town’s development plans should involve the community to make sure they respond to the specific need – take about 49 percent of the town’s 114,000 residents away from poverty.

“We are not ashamed to admit that’s the situation (we want to move from), he added.

Quiño noted that the town’s inclusion in the top 50 is only an affirmation of the town’s thrusts for tourism and investments. He said the local government believes that tourism is an economic driver.

“This must redound to providing jobs to the people,” he said.

The National Competitiveness Council of the Philippines (NCCP) ranked a total of 1,342 towns using the following indicators: economic dynamism, government efficiency, infrastructure and resiliency.

According to the NCCP website, economic dynamism is usually associated with activities that create stable expansion of business and industries and higher employment. Government efficiency refers to the quality and reliability of government services and government support for effective and sustainable productive expansion.

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 of the shocks and stresses it encounters, a post in the website said.

Bruce Augusto Colao, Bukidnon provincial director of the Department of Interior and Local Government, said the competitiveness ranking is linked to the government’s award of the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG), a key governance monitoring and incentives tool for local government units.

According to the DILG, seal recipients get a marker, access to other programs and capacity development assistance from DILG; and can be eligible to access the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) to finance their local development initiatives.

For LGUs to get an SGLG, they must achieve targets in four core areas, Good Financial Housekeeping, Disaster Preparedness, Social Protection and Peace and Order. Aside from the core areas, the LGU must also achieve targets in one of the essential areas, namely, Business Friendliness and Competitiveness; Tourism, Arts and Culture; and Environmental Protection.

Colao said ranking 1 to 50 in the competitiveness indicators will automatically enable the LGU to pass the Business Friendliness and Competitiveness component.

Quiño said to ensure they can use tourism to end poverty in the town, the municipal government has drawn out a 10-year tourism development plan.

He said the major characteristic of the plan is to divert tourism investment to other villages, not just Dahilayan.

“We seek to identify a tourist attraction in every barangay,” he said. This they plan to achieve by forging public and private partnership, he added.

Colao said Manolo Fortich has been consistently high in the competitiveness ranking in the region.

Last year, the CMCI website showed that the town was no. 20 nationwide for all town classes with 1,245 entries. It slipped a notch lower this year. As noted by Quiño, there were also more entries evaluated this year with 1,342 towns.

In economic dynamism, Manolo Fortich performed better from being no. 42 in 2016 to no. 25 this year. But the town ranked higher in government efficiency last year, no. 23 than this year at no. 48. The same is true with infrastructure, from no. 45 in 2016, it slipped to no. 100 this year.  Manolo Fortich also ranked no. 25 in resiliency this year, an indicator that was not yet checked in previous years.

The town’s highest performance so far in the ranking was in 2014, when it landed no. 9 nationwide for all municipalities, no. 26 in economic dynamism, no. 37 in government efficiency and no. 9 in infrastructure.

The Municipality of Maramag came close as No. 22 for all municipalities nationwide. Maramag is no. 2 in Northern Mindanao. Two other Bukidnon towns placed high in the region, Quezon (no. 7) and Don Carlos (no.9). The two towns’ ranks in the national ranking were nos. 92 and 124, respectively.

Bukidnon also placed 9th among 73 provinces nationwide (see related story)  (BukidnonNews.Net)