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 attended by PCCI President Ambassador Benedicto Yujuico and Chamber Chairperson Alegria Limjoco at the PCCI Innovation Center at the Global City in Pasig as a highlight of the 47th Philippine Business Conference and Expo Thursday, November 18.
The 2021 recognition came 14 years after Bacolod won a similar accolade in 2007, also with Leonardia as mayor, a press release from the Bacolod Public Information Office said.
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.
It is generally believed that the first PCCI recognition in 2007 was a major factor that attracted big investments and catapulted Bacolod to where it is today, the press release said.
PCCI’s Awards Committee cited the Bacolod City government for its efforts to keep the local 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, the press release added.
It cited the 24-hour vaccination drive for those in the Business Process Outsourcing sector and the service industry, as well as the mobile vaccination campaign that inoculated thousands of vendors in major public markets and public utility vehicle drivers, among others.
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 on the cap of the Leonardia administration, the PCCI said.
Previously, the Department of Interior and Local Government recognized the city government with the Seal of Good Local Governance, a measure that gives LGUs and its employees incentives or performance-based bonus, the press release said.
Bacolod was also recently named by the Department of Interior and Local Government as the “Best Performing LGU-City Category in Western Visayas” and was cited “Most Competitive City in the Visayas” by the Competitive Cities and Municipalities Index of the Department of Trade and Industry.
In its bid book entitled, “Nurturing Businesses HV Amidst the Pandemic”, and five-minute video presented by Leonardia before the distinguished panel of judges, the city government received high marks for increased competitiveness, for providing an enabling environment and for championing the ease of doing business in order to attract investments.
It also pointed out the 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 required documents are complete and payment has been made, the press release said.
The city government was also credited for its promotion and support to micro, small and medium scale enterprises or the MSMEs.
Among the city’s top investors for the current period are SM Development Corporation, the 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, he added.
Leonardia said the total registered businesses in Bacolod was a record high 25,627 in 2019 before the onset of the pandemic*