BACOLOD CITY—The growth of Bacolod has spilled over to other cities in Negros Occidental, based on the big improvements in the competitiveness rankings of three component cities -- Bago, San Carlos and Kabankalan -- in 2017.
This was the observation of Joselito Basilio, acting deputy director of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)-Department of Economic Research, during the BSP Conference on Gearing Up for External Competitiveness held at the Seda Capitol Central here on Tuesday.
“I don’t exactly know their geographical locations, but it seems there’s a spillover in the sense that their jump (in the rankings) is really high. One of those three (referring to Bago City), jumped 45 steps up. So that’s a big jump,” he said.
“This is precisely because the potential of the region (Western Visayas) is really high. More than the agriculture side, there is the industry and services side,” Basilio added.
The rankings of the cities are based on the sum of their scores on four pillars: Economic Dynamism, Government Efficiency, Infrastructure, and Resiliency, as shown in the 2017 Cities and Municipalities Competitive Index.
Among 145 cities, including 33 highly-urbanized and 112 component cities, Bacolod was in the 22nd spot. Kabankalan was in 62nd place; Bago, 67th; and San Carlos, 100th.
However, in the 2017 Most Improved Rankings among component cities, Bago zoomed to number one after leaping 45 spots -- from 108th in the 2016 Rankings to 63rd in the 2017 rankings.
San Carlos placed sixth after placing 75th in 2017 from 101th in 2016, or up by 26 spots.
Kabankalan, which was ranked 14th, improved by 14 places -- from 49th in 2016 to 35th in 2017.
To the south, Bago is situated right next to Bacolod while Kabankalan is about two hours away. San Carlos is the northernmost city, but only about a two-hour drive from Bacolod via the Negros Translink Highway.
The three cities are the only ones from Negros Occidental included in the top 15 of the most improved component cities list. Among highly-urbanized cities, Bacolod remained in the 20th spot in the past two years.
Basilio said Bacolod can still grow further given its potentials.
“You have the potential in terms of labor growth, employment, and human resource. You have good schools here,” he said, adding that one important growth factor is also science and technology.
In his presentation, Basilio cited the strengths of Negros Occidental and Bacolod City, which include local economy size, growth and structure; education, health, information technology, and financial technology capacity; land use, early warning system, risk reduction plans; and employment.
In Western Visayas, from 2015-2017, the three-year value-added growth per sector is 3.5 percent in agriculture, forestry and fishing; 9.7 percent in industry; and 7.5 percent in services.