Kidapawan. Koronadal. Tagum.
In the early 1980’s, I used to pass by these cities (municipalities then) going to school in Dumaguete. Silliman University is in Visayas, and I am from Mindanao, Kidapawan in Particular. Normally we would travel to Cagayan de Oro via Dabaw-Butuan road (a 10 hour bus ride) because that is the most economical route. That trip would be passing by Tagum. A town that is quite as big as Kidapawan. We would often compare our towns with other towns we passed by.
On the opposite direction, I would sometimes travel via General Santos, via Koronadal. There are two towns which were as big as Kidapawan, Tacurong and Koronadal (Marbel) but Koronadal is more like Kidapawan in size and development for my young eye.
Today, the three are now key (capital) cities in their respective provinces, though they may not be competitively on the same level.
For 2008, Tagum is one of the most competitive cities of the country for the small mid-size cities category. In the same group are General Santos, Tarlac, Olongapo. In 2006, Tagum was still classified as a small city, and together with Koronadal city, was also cited as most competitive cities in the country.
Philippine cities were ranked based on seven major drivers of competitiveness: cost of doing business; dynamism of local economy; linkages and accessibility; human resources and training; infrastructure; responsiveness of local government to business needs; and quality of life. These were adopted from the World Competitiveness Yearbook of the Swiss-based International Institute for Management Development.
Basing from the 2008 results, it could be surmised that Mindanao is improving dramitically. For 2007, the country’s most competitive cities in alphabetical order are the Cabanatuan City, General Santos City, Lucena City, Olongapo City, San Pablo City, Tagum City, Tarlac City.
The awardees for the Most Competitive Metro Cities are the Davao City, Makati City, City of Manila, Marikina City, Lapu-lapu City, Quezon City.
And lastly, the Most Competitive Small-Sized Cities are the Bayawan City, Calapan City, Calbayog City, Dagupan City, Dipolog City, Laoag City, Malaybalay City, Naga City, San Fernando City (La Union), Surigao City, Tagbilaran City, Tuguegarao City.
Kidapawan, unfortunately is not in the list. I am not sure also if it is in the previous list of most competitive cities. Tagum has grown from small to mid-size city. It is even now considered as highly urbanized city.
I am wondering why is this so. Kidapawan is a rich locale. Infact, it is a first class city according to the Department of Finance. Meaning it has enough revenue. In Mindanao only 11 cities are classified as first class that includes Dabaw, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, etc.
What went wrong? in the early 1980’s to the early 1990’s, the three cities have similar revenues. The population is almost thesame. The infrastructure development is about thesame. Today, Koronadal and Tagum boasts of malls and other infra which could only be seen and enjoyed by people living in modern cities. Kidapawan is lagging behing in this regard.
This is something that Kidapawan leaders must explain to the people.