Ladies and gentlemen, magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat.

We are glad that the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) Summit is marking a special occasion ever since the program began in 2013. Today is the first time that local government units (LGUs) from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have joined us in our pursuit for national competitiveness.

Despite the ongoing pandemic nationwide and the series of calamities happening in the region, BARMM LGUs have shown excellence and proven their resilience. That’s why in today’s Summit, we will recognize these deserving LGUs that have excelled in our criteria for competitiveness.

The CMCI is an annual ranking of our cities and municipalities managed by the Department of Trade and Industry’s Competitiveness Bureau (DTI-CB) with the aid of Regional Competitiveness Committees (RCCs) and academic institutions. Conceptualized in 2012, the CMCI is a tool for measuring local competitiveness by providing LGUs, businesses, and investors a comprehensive data-driven outlook of the cities and municipalities. These range from the four established pillars of competitiveness, namely: (1) Economic Dynamism; (2) Government Efficiency; (3) Infrastructure; and (4) Resiliency.

Further, with the CMCI’s alignment with the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), and with the adoption of new indicators to include innovation, we may expect a Innovation Pillar to be included in the next CMCI Cycles.

In the CMCI program last year, 1,552 LGUs out of the 1,634 LGUs across the country participated. This number includes the 36 BARMM LGUs that we will recognize in today’s awarding ceremony. But even though the primary objective of the CMCI Summit today is to award and recognize the “Best among the BARMM LGUs,” we must keep in mind that the CMCI is more than just giving out trophies and awards. This index also serves as an encouragement and a reminder for LGUs to continually strive to do better. 

BARMM’s participation in the index also strengthens our goal in increasing national competitiveness as we strive for inclusive growth through a whole-of-government approach. We note the following significant milestones of BARMM in terms of developing their competitiveness through the CMCI.

First, we have recorded a 300% increase in the business name registration in the region for the 1st quarter of 2021. This is a good basis to say that economy is starting to boom right now in BARMM. Second is that the BARMM Governance Summit was held last July 23, which was aimed to fortify a genuinely responsive BARMM government. Third, from the initial 36 LGUs that voluntarily joined in 2020, 109 LGUs from a total of 119 LGUs representing five provinces in BARMM attended the CMCI orientation last July 28. This is an affirmation that BARMM is in support of the CMCI initiative.

While the CMCI helps us in achieving our goal of cultivating a globally competitive and innovative industry and services sector, this is also in line with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s directive to fully support the Bangsamoro despite the pandemic. Creating competitive BARMM LGUs will push for greater inclusive growth and employment generation in the region.

We’d like to note that the CMCI will help us in our responsibility in developing smarter Filipino entrepreneurs. After all, the CMCI can also provide information for our entrepreneurs to determine the suitability of the local business environment to their needs.

To this end, DTI remains committed in supporting BARMM through our programs that assist in the development of your micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Guided by our 7Ms Framework for Successful Entrepreneurship, these programs focusing on Mindset, Mastery, Mentoring, Money, Machine, Market Access, and Models of Negosyo aid MSMEs at every step of their entrepreneurial journey. This 360-degree support also includes initiatives that provide livelihood kits and all assistance possible to help our entrepreneurs.

That’s why last 19 July 2021, DTI launched the Youth Entrepreneurship Program (YEP!) in BARMM with the help of their Ministry of Trade, Investments, and Tourism (MTIT). This launch of YEP! underlines DTI’s commitment to the Bangsamoro in terms of supporting the region through entrepreneurship, particularly with their young people. Moreover, through this program, young Filipinos of BARMM will become productive individuals of society even as MSME enablers will be encouraged to support youth entrepreneurship development and promotion in the region.

Before we conclude, we wish to express our deepest gratitude to everyone participating in this Summit and we thank you for joining us in our pursuit for national competitiveness. Most importantly, congratulations to all the BARMM LGUs that will be awarded today. As you continue to build a Bangsamoro nation, your efforts will also contribute to the Philippines’ competitiveness, which are vital to our nation’s survival and progress in the post-pandemic future.

Maraming salamat, mabuhay po tayong lahat, and let’s keep moving forward towards a more sustainable, innovative, and competitive Philippines. ♦

Date of Release: 3 September 2021