This report by National Competitiveness Council Co-Chairman Guillermo M. Luz on efforts made in 2013 to put the Philippines in the global competitiveness map and the road up ahead requiring projects and programs to help boost the country’s standing down the line and is being re-posted by the Bugle for our readers. Especially all of those naysayers out there who are always saying that the PI doesn't do anything right,
We have come to the end of another long, busy, and successful year at the National Competitiveness Council. Overall, it has been a good year though, of course, many challenges still remain. When we started our work in 2011, our goal was to move from the bottom-third of global rankings to the top-third by 2016. I am pleased to inform you that a great deal of progress has been made in that regard and that we have now made it into the middle-third of global tables and, in some cases, moved above the median.
Out of eight major competitiveness reports released in the last year, we recorded gains in seven of them and held ground on one. This is the first year this has been done. Over the course of the last three years, we have made improvements in seven global competitiveness reports, from the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index to the International Finance Corporation Ease of Doing Report, IMD World Competitiveness Report, Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, and others. More important, these gains have been significant—overtaking 30 countries in one year in the IFC Report (largest jump worldwide), overtaking 26 countries in the WEF report, and overtaking 40 countries in the Transparency International. Our one-year and three-year performance records are attached for your reference.
Much of these gains were the result of some new programs planned and installed over the last 12 to 18 months. For instance, we partnered with Social Weather Stations, Asia Foundation, Australia Agency for International Development, Integrity Inititiative, Makati Business Club and the Management Association of the Philippines to revive and continue the Annual Enterprise Survey on Corruption. This allowed us to closely track perceptions and experiences of corruption in key business areas in Metro Manila, Angeles, CALABAR, Iloilo, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro-Iligan, and Davao City. Tighter monitoring of local governments and regional offices of national government agencies has proven useful and enlightening.
In May 2013 President Aquino created the Task Force on Ease of Doing Business to cut red tape in processes to start, operate, and close businesses in the country. The result was the 30-country jump in this key measure, the biggest improvement in the world in 2013. Our Gameplan 2.0 is now ready and the government agencies are raring to go for another record jump for the Philippines.
This year, we also launched our City/Municipality Competitiveness Index, with the help of USAID and Project INVEST. This project was kicked off by organizing 15 Regional Competitiveness Committees across the country whose first project was to design the index and collect data. Through these regional committees, data was collected on 285 cities and municipalities so they could be entered and ranked on the index, which basically measures economic dynamism, infrastructure, cost of doing business and ease of doing business in these local government units. In 2014 we plan to expand that list to 550 cities and municipalities so businessmen will have basis for making decisions on where to locate their businesses. We have also worked closely with Microsoft and the World Wildlife Fund to expand the activities of the regional committees to include software applications for city management and disaster preparedness and response and climate change risk assessments.
On top of these new projects, we continue to run our older projects such as the working groups, dialogues, customer satisfaction surveys, performance governance system, and field monitoring on business permits and licensing systems. We have added a new working group this year —agribusinesses and trade logistics— and will open up a new working group on manufacturing in 2014.
We have also received some new assignments in the past year. The first one involves the preparations for the Apec 2015 Chairmanship and Summit in the Philippines. Working within the Apec National Organizing Council, we will help the country prepare the logistics, sponsorship and policy agenda for 2015. Planning commenced in February 2013 and preparations are being undertaken in 11 locations around the country—including Manila, Tagaytay, Subic, Clark, Bataan, Boracay, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu, Legazpi and Davao.
Aside from being a member of the Economic Cluster, the National Competitiveness Council is also represented on a number of government interagency committees and boards, including the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC), Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center Governance Board, the AO25 Task Force on the Performance-Based Bonus System, the Professional Regulatory Commission’s standards committee, and MITHI (the government’s new information-technology standard setting body for IT procurement).
Finally, with the onslaught of Supertyphoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan), we have been asked to coordinate the private sector response to work closely with the government’s Rebuilding After Yolanda project. In this regard, I am working closely with the newly reorganized Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF), which will be the business community’s main point of coordination with the government, international aid agencies and the non-governmental organization community as far as recovery and reconstruction is concerned. PDRF will also be engaged in disaster-preparedness (primarily through better urban planning and design), as well as relief in future events.
Before the year closes, I wish to thank the hundreds of people in the government, the private sector and international partners and our board and staff who all help the National Competitiveness Council in carrying out its numerous programs and projects to help us achieve our goal to make the Philippines more competitive. Without these individual and collective contributions, we would not be able to make the gains and feel the improvements that we have seen. The past year has been, I believe, a breakthrough year and I am looking forward to another great year in 2014.
Happy New Year !