24 October 2019, PICC, Pasay City


Ladies and gentlemen, magandang umaga sa inyong lahat!

It is my honor to stand here in front of the outstanding agents of change across our country. I would like to congratulate all of you for being strong partners in fostering competitiveness at the local and regional levels. Through your efforts, we are advancing our nation’s competitiveness.

The progress that we have accomplished so far is due in large measure to the active participation of our 1,518 cities and municipalities. You will recall during the pilot run of the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) tulad po ng pinakita sa inyo. Ang CMCI program po in 2013, we only had 122 cities and 163 municipalities participating.

Today, in less than ten years, we are now more than ten times that initial number. This clearly demonstrates our commitment to ensure that our cities and municipalities are resilient, have sufficient and robust infrastructure, economically dynamic, and efficiently governed.

And what we’re happy about is that you have appreciated also and increase the principles of the need to become very competitive. As you may know ito pong Competitiveness Index really is a good kind and reference index especially for investors. Thinking and selecting an area where to invest.

And it’s important po that ang ating mga cities and municipalities really good project a very good competitiveness image and this will really attract more investors, more investments that will create more jobs, more income. More income means more economic activities, more economic activities will further attract investments etc, etc.

So, it will become a virtuous cycle and you know after that virtuous cycle na mas maraming na attract na investors at mga creating jobs and income syempre po ang mga land value tumataas, ang mga taxes tumataas at will be down to the benefit of the cities and municipalities. And we can only lead to more progress and prosperity in your respective cities and municipalities. Kaya nga po sabi namin ay talagang para sa inyo po ito.

At the end of the day also we would like to say that while the ranking will be very important. What’s really more important is that we have done improvements in our respective cities and municipalities. It’s not about just winning but it’s really about creating changes and improvement sa ating areas because the investors will be the ones who will be assessing and selecting the cities where they want to be.

Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index

And actually, at this point we would like to also say and focusing also on what I just said that beyond being an annual ranking event, it is a vital opportunity also for policymakers and public officials to see where things are, comparing ourselves with the past performance, and relating ourselves our ranking to the other cities and municipalities. And kasama po dun sharing also best practices that we have and what others have with each and every one. As such, this program serves as a driving force to do better, to be more innovative, and to utilize and manage resources more effectively.

Each city or municipality has their own way to go to become competitive, some more than others. But we’ll all get there, hopefully sooner rather than later. We can do this by focusing on addressing critical challenges and working together through coordination within government and collaboration with our stakeholders from the private sector.

An important first step is, of course, being efficient with bureaucratic processes. This means cutting the cost, the time, and simplifying procedures that our clients and constituents deal with in our office.

At maisingit ko na if we really think about this, ‘yun talagang ultimate Ease of Doing Business as I always say even at the national level. Mailagay na natin ang mga application dito po. ‘Yung mag-aapply kung ano man kaylangan sa inyo pong opisina. Kung pwede po ay i-online na. Dito na po sila mag fi-fill up, mag sasubmit at mabilis na approval. Kung magawa po natin ‘yun ay kayo ang the best. ‘Yun ang pinaka-Ease of Doing Business.

So more than this, we need to identify what needs to be strengthened, what must be improved, and what services can be offered in order for government to be better enablers of competitiveness.

A city or municipality that demonstrates convenient, transparent, and seamless service to clients can be attractive to investors. This, in turn, will significantly push the regional economy forward.

As a commitment by all of us from the public and private sector, we should constantly consider moving beyond and thinking out of the box. The CMCI is an essential starting point. The data from the CMCI, when used accordingly, can be a major game changer for the national economy.

Recently, the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Competitiveness Bureau held its first Academic Symposium, which showcased research studies utilizing the CMCI data. We will hear the top two studies later this morning.

Just to summarize, the Symposium highlighted the importance of CMCI data for decision-makers, policy-makers, and our LGUs. These studies provide insightful analysis and thoughtful recommendations that could help us enhance our policies, carry out reforms, and deliver more significant and positive service to our people—especially at the grassroots-level.

We look forward in making the Symposium an annual event to gain more insight and expand the benefit of these research studies using our CMCI data.


We have good news for you, so you will be the first to hear that the World Bank (WB) has just released its Doing Business 2020 Report which shows our country’s remarkable improvement relatively to Ease of Doing Business.

So, the good news EODB score increased from 57.68 to 62.8 (+5.12) this year.

Alam nyo dito ‘yung bawat point, napakalaki ng galaw sa rank. Kasi we are ranked also tulad ngayon po pinaguusapan natin ‘yung LGU ranking versus others. Buong Pilipinas, we are ranked against 190 countries. So that’s 62.8 new score that raised to a sharp improvement to our rank from 124 to 95th place from 190 countries. This is the long jump of 29 notches.

Our double-digit improvement is even made more significant given the following facts. The Philippines was cited by the World Bank as one the of 42 economies which implemented regulatory reforms in more than three topics, which resulted in significant improvements in our EODB scores.

The Philippines is one of the top three high jumpers among the 190 economies covered by the World Bank study. In terms of rank, the Philippines was the 3rd highest, in terms of the increase, next only to Togo (+40), Saudi Arabia (+30) and we shared the same spot with Jordan, which also increased by +29 notches.

Among ASEAN, Philippines recorded the highest improvement both in rank and EODB score. Followed by Myanmar, which rose from 171st to 165th and that’s +6 notches, and its EODB score from 44.72 to 46.8 (+2.08).

The last time the Philippines ranked 95th — the highest spot we’ve held so far— was in the year 2014. Actually, we’re hoping to reach, internally, we have a target of 94 para talagang record almost there. We missed it by one notch pero we’re very thankful to the Lord already. I think that one there was also a +26 improvement during that year since 2010.

In pursuing ease of doing business, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) adopted the formula of a whole-of-government approach. So, hindi po DTI ito buong gobyerno po ito and importante dito with the private sector so it includes the public-private sector partnership which we now see it is a winning formula.

Think Philippines works, the judiciary, legislative, and executive branches. Legislative because andyan din po ‘yung mga bagong pinasang batas. Salamat sa ating mga legislators. At ang judiciary din po in terms of enforcing contracts sa tagal po ng pag clear ng mga cases sa paghiwalay ng mga small claim cases para mapabilis ‘yung mga bagay na ‘yun and of course the executive branches – many of the frontlines services ang involved po dito.

The judiciary, legislative, executive department and the partners in the private sector committed to a deliberate and methodical execution of a sound and clear strategy towards competitiveness. Today, we see the fruits of our labor.

May I take this opportunity to recognize our partners from both government and the business community who made the +29 notches possible. Congratulations po sa inyong dedication, patriotism, and hard work.

In particular—by the way, Ease of Doing Business may 10 indicators po tayong mine-measure.

• In starting a business andyan po ang tulong ng SEC, BIR (DOF), LGU-QC, Pag-IBIG, PhilHealth, SSS.

• Sa dealing with construction permits – LGU-QC.

• Getting electricity – MERALCO. Registering property – LRA, LGU-QC.

• Getting credit – CIC, and private sector organizations like TransUnion, BAP Credit Inc., CRIF, Compuscan.

• Protecting minority investors – SEC.

• Paying taxes-BIR, SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG.

• Trading across borders – BOC under DOF.

• Enforcing contracts – SEC, Supreme Court.

• Resolving insolvency – Supreme Court and of course ang mga logistics service sector community din that are helping.

The road to 95 was challenging much like climbing Mount Everest or climbing Mt. Apo. We worked fast and scaled UP our reform initiatives. For the DB 2020 cycle, team Philippines submitted 53 reforms/data correction requests to the World Bank.

Kaya pala may data correction if you recall ‘yung last year result we protested because last year there was decline in rank which we protested because they recorded wrongly certain information and therefore hindi na-credit and this is a data correction that we protested on.

So they made a correction plus other reforms kaya lalo pang tumaas ang ating ranking. We were telling you before na kung tama yung data last time we would also improve by about 5 to 8 notches. Di bale naipon lahat ngayon nadagdagan pa.

All 11 data correction requests were considered but only 9 of the 42 reforms were accepted. In other words, there are reforms that we reported or not credited because for we to be credited kasama po dyan ‘yung dapat nae-experience na nung taong bayan. Kaya po survey is with the people – the users of the system.

Today is a time for thanks. For recognition. For Celebration.


With that in mind, we must continue to scale up in our services in making doing business easier here in the Philippines. This will attract more investments and making Philippines have a more conducive business environment.

Ito po talaga ‘yung paulit ulit kong sinasabi na ang ating Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte that we will make doing business easy in the Philippines. Free of corruption. Free of extortion. At ang pangako po nya talagang isumbong nyo sa kanya pagka meron talagang nagpapahirap na kagawaran ng gobyerno at mga tao sa gobyerno at siya mismo ang haharap nito.

I’d just like to mention that you know last year the passage of the Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business Act and established also the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA). This year, pumasok na po ‘yung ating Director General na-appoint na po ang bagong Director General Jeremiah Belgica who is represented by Atty. Ira Pozon.

I’d just like to mention that we’ve made a lot of progress in advancing ease of doing business as reported. Of course, thank you again to Quezon City—as the pilot city in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business survey. It has already established their Business One-Stop Shop (BOSS), as well as a one-stop shop for construction permits.

QC plans to include barangay clearance issuances in the BOSS, although we are aware that in some cities talagang na include na nila because according to the law kasama na dapat ang barangay clearance sa pagkuha ng Mayor’s permit. ‘Yun ang nasa batas at marami na ring naka implement dyan na mga cities and municipalities. Of course, we would like to hear from you.

As well as ‘yung Fire Safety Inspection clearance making it a post-registration requirement. Pero marami na rin pong maisasight natin and I’m sure this is not complete marami na po sa inyo naggawa na ng mga improvements sa sistema pero ito po ‘yung recently napuntahan namin — nabisita namin.

Tulad po nung sa City of Manila kay Yorme has also launched their one-stop shop for business permits and licenses under three easy steps: “File, Pay, and Claim.” Ang Parañaque City Mayor Olivares nabisita rin po namin and launched the Project Express Lane Operation (ELO) 2.0, which includes the computerization of the occupational work permit. Ang City of Valenzuela has their 3S+ program—which stands for “Simple, Speed, Service Excellence”—and this includes a streamlined business permit processing and online and electronic payment system. Ang sabi ni Mayor Rex Gatchalian sakin last week ay 8 seconds.

Pero 8 seconds nilinaw po ni Mayor Rex na from submission ibig sabihin fi-fill up online at submit at processing 8 seconds meron nang permit. So ganun ‘yung mga challenges natin na kaylangan nating mahigitan pa para talagang pag submit automatic approval and then bayad may permit na. At ‘yung mga ibang requirements quickly a post-registration requirement.

Dahil ang maganda naman po dito ay kung di sila magcomply eh di revoked but we see those more of exception rather than the rule. So ‘yung mindset po na atin po ipapairal may element of trust na they can comply at importante po ay makapagnegosyo na agad at may ease of doing business.

Meanwhile, ARTA is working to fulfil the EODB Law’s 3-7-20 days. You’re familiar with this. Under this rule, nirerequire ‘yung mga simple transactions: 3 days simple, 7 days complex, highly technical ay 20 days processing if not being approved.

We are confident that the gains will slowly but surely accrue with the full implementation of the EODB Law under the watchful eye of ARTA. So nagre-review at nag aassess na po ang ARTA. Alam ko meron na silang kakasuhan kaya po maganda rin ‘yun sa mga medyo matigas ang ulo.

Further, these reforms and the momentum will continue even after the World Bank’s survey. So importante po talaga na on our own talagang this is for our benefit na we do all this improvement. Hindi na kaylangan mag expect pa si ARTA on our own pagagalingin natin.

We are also eyeing for more opportunities and partnerships with other countries—especially non-traditional trading partners—that would open more market access to our products.

Recently, ang ating Pangulo the head delegation to Russia, and also met with the Indian counterpart. Next week, we shall be going again to Thailand for the ASEAN and all those foreign travels ng ating Pangulo. It’s a hard-working schedule kaya sana po gumaling na ‘yung kanyang likod dahil talaga pong nakakapagod schedule po nya dun hanggang gabi po natatapos. And all this ang nadadala po niyang more opportunities for our exporters, more investors for the Philippine economy.

Likewise, we have to be more aggressive in pushing for more reforms to facilitate the growth of Micro SMEs. At ang ating pong iba’t-ibang ahensya under DTI pinangungunahan ng Regional Operations Group. All the Regional Provincial Directors, officers and staff. Dito po talaga ‘yung priority nila na itinutulak sa bawat cities and municipalities. Doing a lot of seminars, mentoring.

‘Yung P3 ‘yung pautang if you need pautang – micro financing panlaban sa 5-6. OTOP HUBs, shared service facilities and many more. So ito po ‘yung ating total support sa ating mga micro SMEs para sila po ay maging smarter entrepreneurs.

To this end, I am confident that our Regional Competitiveness Committees (RCCs) and the proposed creation, we are proposing an Inter-Cabinet Cluster on Competitiveness (I-CCC) will play a major role in our efforts to ramp up our country’s competitiveness. The RCCs and the I-CCC, which is composed of different national agencies and eminent individuals from the private sector, will help us to boost the Philippines’s score in the DB ranking.

This is a whole-of-government approach. We can only succeed by coordinating and collaborating together to achieve national competitiveness. That’s why we must revisit all our government processes, remove redundancies, and simplify.

When I said automation po kanina before we automate importante, we streamline talaga and simplify and then the rest ipapa-automate na natin. And by the way, our system po we always recommend that if you don’t have a system of course DICT will be there to assist you and from the experiences of others. They also outsourced the system because usually the private sector talaga kaya mas kaya, mas mabilis mag support ng mga systems so tulong tulong po yan with the DICT and with the private sector.


In our shared aspiration to achieve and sustain national competitiveness, your full support and participation to foster an environment that is attractive to investors and conducive for businesses to thrive and expand will make a difference.

Regions composed of cities and municipalities that are economically stable, offer abundant entrepreneurial opportunities, and provide adequate employment—these are the building blocks of national competitiveness.

I call on everyone here to strengthen our ties and linkages to help one another. We look forward to achieving national competitiveness that relies on the pillars of cities and municipalities’ competitiveness.

By being competitive, which is the vision of our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte we move towards and forward in our national goal of sustainable and inclusive growth. More importantly, we will empower our people, especially in the countryside, through the generation of jobs and employment creating more income and economic activities in all our respective areas.

It will be a long journey, but it will definitely be worth our hard work as we build a better, brighter future for our nation.

Again, Congratulations po sa inyong lahat at mabuhay tayong lahat.