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USC economics students tapped to conduct competitiveness studies

Project aimed at giving businesses in Cebu reliable data
By: - Senior Reporter / @agarciayapCDN
/ 08:23 AM September 09, 2013

Despite the loss of support from Cebu City Hall, the Cebu Investments and Promotions Center (CIPC) continues to look for ways to help Cebu industries to become more competitive.

This developed after an agreement to conduct three research studies about Cebu’s economic landscape was signed last week by the CIPC, the University of San Carlos (USC), the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

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The studies will be completed and presented after one year.

The three studies will focus on the business process outsourcing industry, Cebu City’s competitiveness, and the cement industry.

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“This started when Mr. (Joel Mari) Yu of CIPC approached us with his usual hunger for information and asked to partner with us for research. These three studies are based on his suggestions,” said Corazon G. Anzano, chairman of the USC Department of Economics, who will head the research team.

The DOST committed to fund the P400,000 study.

The CIPC, formed 20 years ago to promote Cebu to investors and more recently, the South Road Properties (SRP), suffered a major setback this year when the Cebu City government withheld release of its P5.4 million

subsidy.

Mayor Michael Rama said he wanted another body to market SRP.

Five trustees of the CIPC, including its chairman Geronimo Sta. Ana, and other business leaders resigned from their posts on June 30, saying they wanted to give the mayor a “free hand” to choose who would serve on the board.

Yu remains as managing director of CIPC with Department of Trade and Industry Regional Director Aster Caberte.

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A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the new research project was signed at the USC Law and Business Building last week.

The three studies will be carried out simultaneously and will tap USC economics students who will conduct the surveys and focus group discussions with researchers Gerardo Go and John Aligado. The USC’s School of Business and Economics will lead the research work.

Rationale

“The BPO study will give us a quantitative perspective of the industry’s market structure, growth trends, business environment, demand for utilities like broadband, human resource management and attrition rate,” said Anzano.

With the data, Cebu can better position itself as the best destination for BPOs.

Yu said investors look for reliable quantitative data—where they could base their business

decisions.

“We cannot use motherhood statements. When they come, they do a due diligence study and we will need data to show to them. In CIPC we don’t have a lot of staff so this partnership is good for us. We can tap people in USC and complete the study,” said Yu.

There is also a need to find out how companies locating in the economic zones view Cebu compared to other major cities in South East Asia, which will help Cebu prepare for the Asean Economic Community by 2015.

The cities to be studied include Cebu and other major cities like Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi in Vietnam, Bangkok in Thailand, Jakarta in Indonesia and Guangzhou and Shenzen in China.

The study will use a standard set of competitiveness indices that will capture the role of different competitiveness factors, said Anzano.

The third study about the cement industry as an indicator of local economic growth will gather information about structure, market forces and environment including regulations that affect the industry.

Funding

DOST Regional Director Rene Burt Llanto said his office will fund the research study, whose cost Anzano estimated to be at least P400,000.

“We will provide for the funding,” said Llanto.

“If we’re successful with this one, we can do more like a study on hospital furniture or how to bring down the cost of spare parts. I’d like the CIPC to still be a partner for that,” he said.

USC already started gathering data in August and aims to complete this by March next year, said Anzano.

“After that stage is data analysis and verification. It would be safe to say that by September next year we will be presenting the report,” she said.

She said the results will be made public.

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TAGS: Cebu Investments and Promotions Center (CIPC), Cebu's economic landscape, Department of Science and Technology (DOST), enterprise, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza), research studies, University of San Carlos (USC)
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