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Bottom of the barrel: The Philippines’ least competitive cities for business

By Eileen Mencias

While several cities in Metro Manila topped the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) 2023 Competitiveness Ranking, four cities from the same region ranked among the lowest.

The DTI releases its Competitiveness Ranking annually, evaluating local governments based on economic dynamism, government efficiency, infrastructure, resiliency, and innovation.

5. Lapu-Lapu, Cebu

Lapu-Lapu in Cebu scored 35.3183, making it the fifth least competitive among the 33 highly urbanized cities in the country. It ranked second lowest in innovation and 25th in economic dynamism, government efficiency, and infrastructure. In terms of resiliency, it placed 23rd.

4. Las Piñas

Las Piñas ranked fourth, with a score of 35.1899. Mayor Mel Aguilar, the sister-in-law of Senator Cynthia Villar, holds the position. Las Piñas was fourth lowest in government efficiency, 28th in economic dynamism and innovation, 21st in resiliency, and 19th in infrastructure.

3. Navotas

Navotas scored 35.0496, placing third lowest in economic dynamism and innovation. Incumbent mayor Jeannie Sandoval is serving her first term. She initially ran for mayor in 2019 but lost to the then-incumbent Mayor Antolin Oreta III. She won in 2022 against Oreta’s brother, Jose Lorenzo Oreta.

2. Malabon

Malabon was the second least competitive city for business, scoring 34.8983. It ranked lowest in economic dynamism, 28th in infrastructure, 26th in government efficiency and innovation, and 19th in resiliency.

1. San Juan

San Juan, under Mayor Francis Zamora’s leadership, emerged as the least competitive highly urbanized city in the Philippines for business, with a score of 34.1455 in the DTI’s competitiveness ranking. San Juan ranked lowest in resiliency, third lowest in government efficiency, fourth lowest in economic dynamism and infrastructure, and 22nd in innovation.

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