Staying competitive

Published January 3, 2021, 8:31 AM

by Dr. Jun Ynares


Dr. Jun Ynares
Dr. Jun Ynares

For the nth time, Rizal Province and Antipolo City were named Most Competitive Province and Most Competitive Component City, respectively, by the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Competitiveness Bureau for the year 2020.

The distinction is given to local governments units (LGU) who topped their respective categories in the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index for a given year. The ranking is determined by the scores garnered by the LGUs. They are rated in terms of economic dynamism, government efficiency, infrastructure, and resiliency.

The scores and system of ranking was put in place by the country’s National Competitiveness Council composed of representatives from both the government and private sectors. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provides significant assistance to this project.

While Rizal and Antipolo have had the honor of topping their respective categories in the past, the 2020 award is special. The regional competitiveness chairperson for the Calabarzon region, DTI Regional Director Marilou Toledo, explains why in these words:

“It’s been a tough year for all of us, yet, they (the participating LGUs) attested that this pandemic is not a hindrance to our efforts to improve and to serve the public better.”

We agree.

In fact, the pandemic has served more as a challenge and an impetus rather than a hindrance. The tough times pushed local governments to take a close look at how stable and sustainable their infrastructure, systems, and processes are. If these can withstand the onslaught of a major challenge, then the LGU is truly “competitive.”

As we have explained in the past, “competitiveness” here does not mean being able to beat others or win against rivals in a contest.

We interpret “competitiveness” here as “attractiveness” – the ability to attain the highest standards of excellence in local governance which, in turn, serve as the primary attraction to potential investors.

The competitiveness score and ranking is a form of feedback to LGUs. It tells them which areas to address to make them more attractive to businesses. It tells them where to improve and what the gaps are.

The score and ranking are also a reminder that local governments are responsible for the social and economic advancement of their constituencies.

They also underscore that the development of local communities can happen only if there is a strong collaboration between LGUs and the private sector. The latter bring in the capital. The LGU must provide the infrastructure and the environment that would give the assurance to the private sector that the infusion of capital would bring about progress to as many people as possible.

In a way, each of us – as individuals – must also endeavor to up our “competitiveness.”

Here is a saying we came across in many years ago:

“Success occurs when preparation meets opportunity.”

This version of the popular saying is from the international sales guru, Zig Ziglar.

There is an older version attributed to the Roman sage Seneca which goes, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”

Regardless of which version we subscribe to, the fact remains that there will always be opportunities available. Those who have prepared for them will be the ones to benefit from such opportunities.

The many success stories of entrepreneurs who did well during the pandemic attest to this.

These people honed their skills, built their network, and sharpened their winning attitude long before the tough times came.

When the pandemic struck, they were ready to respond to the new requirements of a market that was defined by the restrictions of the imposed by government protocols.

They showcased for us what it means to be prepared for the time when opportunity would present itself.

We believe that the year 2021 will be full of fresh opportunities for all of us.

Let us make sure we are prepared to meet them.

*For feedback, please email it to [email protected] or send it to #4 Horse Shoe Drive, Beverly Hills Subdivision, Bgy. Beverly Hills, Antipolo City, Rizal.