Bacolod City was named the “Most Business-Friendly Local Government Unit” for 2021 by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, besting 10 other finalists in the highly-urbanized city (HUC) category of the nationwide search.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia received the award in a virtual ceremony Nov. 18, attended by PCCI president Benedicto Yujuico and Chamber chairperson Alegria Limjoco at the PCCI Innovation Center at the Global City in Pasig, as one highlight of the 47th Philippine Business Conference and Expo.
The 2021 recognition came 14 years after Bacolod won a similar accolade in 2007, also with Leonardia as mayor.
Bacolod City has been a consistent national finalist of the PCCI Award in the last four years since 2017, organizers said.
“This (award) is like a candle in the darkness. This reassures us that when this pandemic is over, we will all be back in business and we will row the boat together. We will accelerate. We will tread that road to recovery altogether. We thank you for this inspiration of being the Most Business-Friendly City outside of Metro Manila,” Leonardia said in his message of acceptance that was streamed via Zoom.
The PCCI Awards Committee cited the city government for its efforts to keep the economy afloat despite the COVID-19 crisis, and recognized the innovations and timely interventions made by the LGU in support to local businesses at the height of the health crisis.
These include the 24-hour vaccination drive for those in the Business Process Outsourcing sector and the service industry, and the mobile vaccination campaign that inoculated thousands of vendors in major public markets, and public utility vehicle drivers, among others, a press release from the city said.
Bacolod was up against Baguio City, Angeles City, Cagayan de Oro City, Davao City, General Santos City, Iloilo City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Olongapo City, and Zamboanga City for the coveted PCCI award, which added another feather in the cap of the Leonardia administration, the PCCI said.
Recently, the Department of the Interior and Local Government also recognized the city government with the Seal of Good Local Governance, a measure that gives LGUs and employees with incentives or performance-based bonus.
Bacolod was also recently named by the DILG as “Best Performing LGU-City Category in Western Visayas”, and as “Most Competitive City in the Visayas” by the Competitive Cities and Municipalities Index of the Department of Trade and Industry.
In a video presented by Leonardia to the panel of judges, he said that the city government received high marks for increased competitiveness, for providing an enabling environment, and for championing the Ease of Doing Business to attract investments.
He also pointed out various innovations, such as the application of information technology, mall-based and electronic processing of business permits, and the accelerated release of permits in 60 minutes provided that the required documents are complete and payment has been made.
The city government was also credited for its promotion and support to micro, small and medium scale enterprises.
At present, the city’s top investors are SM Development Corporation, Park Inn Hotel, Yanson Group, Ayala Land, Megaworld, Rockwell, Vista Land, Cebu Landmasters, Robinsons, and Citi Malls that primarily boosted the surge in the city’s economic growth, Leonardia added.
He said that total registered businesses in Bacolod stood at record high 25,627 in 2019 before the onset of the pandemic. | NND