Recognizing the huge potential of creative talents in various localities, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Pascual emphasized the significant role of local government units (LGUs) in encouraging creative transformation during the Philippine Creative Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Congress held on 28 September 2023 at the Manila Hotel. The DTI Chief underscored that LGUs play a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s competitiveness as their grassroots interaction is significant in pursuing robust economic development.

Secretary Pascual emphasized, “Our cities and communities are the bedrock upon which our society is built. They are the living, breathing embodiments of our collective spirit, culture, and aspirations. Ensuring their flourishing progress in a world in flux is not just a goal—it’s a shared duty that binds us all.”

The trade and industry chief stressed that LGUs are important in the country’s growth and prosperity as their respective local participation contributes to the overall growth and resilience of the Philippines. He emphasized that given their proximity to their constituents, their role in fostering an environment that encourages innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainable development is paramount.

Aligned with the 2023 Philippine Creative Industries Month (PCIM) Celebration themed, “Celebrating Filipino Creativity, Advancing Creative Philippines,” the Congress embodied the vision of transforming cities and municipalities into dynamic hubs of creativity and innovation. With the theme of “Building Creative Cities and Municipalities, Elevating Local Competitiveness,” the congress aimed to inspire and encourage transformative governance approaches among policymakers, who expressed keen support for the creative sector.

Secretary Pascual also challenged LGUs to consistently push their limits to achieve higher ranking in the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI). The CMCI is an important tool in assessing the competitiveness of localities, providing external stakeholders with valuable insights into the potential of the Philippine cities.

Further, the DTI Chief underscored the government’s “Build Better More” Program which aims to develop infrastructure as a vital aspect of enhancing competitiveness. He also stressed the need to promote inclusivity by bridging the gap between urban and rural areas, ensuring equal access to resources, opportunities, and development projects.

Additionally, the trade and industry chief highlighted the Department’s initiatives and programs to promote the potential of creative industries pursuant to the Philippine Creative Industries Development Act (PCIDA). He cited ongoing programs such as the Philippine Creative Industries Month which is aimed at creating a better and empowering environment for our creative sector, and the Young Creatives Challenge (YC2), which is aimed to provide a platform to nurture and recognize the talents of the Filipino youth.

Encouraging LGUs and policymakers to partake in the development of the Philippines’ creative sector, Secretary Pascual said, “Cities and municipalities are more than just centers of art and culture; they are dynamic hubs that bring together diverse talents, industries, and ideas to drive sustainable development. Let us work hand in hand to transform our cities and municipalities into beacons of progress and prosperity. The time is now to unleash the full potential of our nation and create a brighter future for every Filipino.”

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