(Photo courtesy of Lorraine Banzuelo)

Puerto Princesa City placed fifth in the 2021 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI), an annual ranking of Philippine cities and municipalities developed by the National Competitiveness Council.

In 2020, Puerto Princesa topped the CMCI’s ranking in the “Most Improved” category, besting highly urbanized cities (HUCs) such as Las Pinas, Valenzuela, and Caloocan.

According to Lorraine Banzuelo, head of the Local Economic Investment Promotions Office (LEIPO), even if Puerto Princesa is no longer the top of the list, being part of the top five is still an indicator that the city has commendable performance.

“Last year, nasa one tayo. Pero noong 2019, out of 32 HUCs, nasa last tayo, kulelat talaga. Pero noong gumanda na ang data natin, maraming projects, umakyat tayo. Ngayon, wala na tayong itataas sa number one[after last year], pero na-maintain natin ang nasa Top 5 tayo, kasama pa natin ang ibang malalaking cities,” Banzuelo said in a phone call on Monday.

Puerto Princesa also tied with Angeles City, Pampanga in the CMCI rankings. The annual rankings, which are given by the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) competitiveness bureau, aim to recognize the efforts of the local government unit (LGU) to serve its constituents in terms of the five pillars classified as economic dynamism, government efficiency, infrastructure, resiliency, and innovation.

Banzuelo explained the LEIPO collects all relevant data that will be submitted to the DTI, which will then be validated by several other national government agencies. Relevant data include how many businesses applied for permits and certification and how much revenue was earned by registered businesses in Puerto Princesa.

“Lahat ng data na binigay namin ay vina-validate ng CMCI ng mga national government offices, like ‘yong sa Bangko Sentral [ng Pilipinas], DPWH, DOT. We are so thankful na since the start ng pandemic, nahirapan kami sa data gathering. Pero, nakapasa pa rin kami at nakapasok pa tayo sa Top 5,” she added.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.