Ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

Allow me first to express my sincere gratitude to all LGUs who participated in this year’s Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) survey.

As some of you may now know, the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index or CMCI is an annual ranking of Philippine cities and municipalities that aims to build, strategically map out, and track local competitiveness. This is done through a set of indicators under five major pillars:  economic dynamism, government efficiency, infrastructure, and resiliency.

It addresses the lack of a standardized system for compiling such local indicators in the country, while allowing 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 imperatives.

This year, we have opened the back end of the CMCI Data Analytics platform that allowed LGUs to encode their data and the DTI RCC focal persons from the provinces and the regions to validate these data directly into the automated system. It is also remarkable that the number of submissions of the Local Data Capture Sheets (LDCS) for 2021 increased from 1,552 to 1,608 of the total 1,632 LGUs nationwide.

We also conducted this year the 3rd Annual CMCI Academic Symposium which aims to utilize the CMCI data to provide useful information, informative conclusions, and offer policy recommendations for decision-makers through data research and analysis. The winning paper established that competitiveness is multidimensional, and its factor structure differs by the type of LGU. This research proved that the Philippine government, through DTI, could indeed pursue competitiveness as a strategy for economic development as a basis for improving public service and public welfare.

We are also excited to have the support and participation of LGUs under the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in CMCI this year. From an initial participation last year of 36 LGUs, it is worthy to note that this year, we have about 109.

Meanwhile, the National Competitiveness Agenda Setting has been completed, where the National and the Regional Strategic Roadmaps were formulated. It was found out that the strengthening and growth of MSMEs, agri-business and tourism, Human Capital Development, and Regional Hubs are the priority areas that the regions want to focus on. Thus, DTI shall ensure that the identified strategic contributions and deliverables about these areas will be accomplished within the given time period.

Lastly, we are pleased to share that the pillar of Innovation has been introduced this year and will be included as the 5th 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.

We emphasize the importance of the innovation pillar as LGUs are starting to focus now on strengthening their own innovation policies and programs and finding ways on how new technologies could be used to address issues pertaining to business registrations, permits, productivity or financial deepening. Making innovation at the heart of LGU policies would enable them to grow more dynamic local economies.

Again, congratulations to everyone who joined this year’s cycle, not only for the recognitions and awards that you may receive, but also for taking the steps and challenges toward competitiveness.

Lastly, I commend all the cities and municipalities who participated in this year’s CMCI for their great work. Let us all continue to promote excellence and competitiveness through innovation. As President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said earlier this year, “Innovation is our big push. This will keep our country on the growth path for decades to come.”

Maraming salamat at mabuhay po tayong lahat!

Date of Release: 14 December 2021