Manila, Cebu among least livable of Apec cities | Inquirer News

Manila, Cebu among least livable of Apec cities

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
04:30 AM November 19, 2015

The Metropolises of Manila and Cebu ranked low in terms of livability against 26 other cities among the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) member economies, especially in the areas of connectivity, environmental sustainability and health and welfare.

The Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) study titled “Building Better Cities,” released on the sidelines of the Apec CEO Summit Wednesday, showed Manila ranking 22nd and Cebu 26th among the 28 Apec cities surveyed.

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With the best performer given the highest score of “28” while the cellar dweller a “1,” Manila was given a score of 15 in culture and social health, 9 in connectivity, 2 in health and welfare, 3 in environmental sustainability, and 7 in economics.

Cebu received a score of 12 in culture and social health, 2 in connectivity, 3 in health and welfare, 6 in environmental sustainability, and 6 in economics.

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According to a PwC statement, the study “focuses on the role urban centers play in the context of Apec’s economic and social growth, and also looks at the cities’ growing influence outside their borders through three lenses: how they fare in basic city development, what differentiates them and the hindrances they face to growth.”

Guillermo M. Luz, the National Competitiveness Council private sector cochair, blamed local governments, specifically the mayors of the cities belonging to the bigger Metro Manila and Metro Cebu.

Luz said the competitiveness, livability and sustainability of cities are the upmost responsibility of mayors, who he said should “learn from the report.”

However, a check with the metrics that formed the basis for the report showed that a number of them are within the national government’s responsibility. This is true of connectivity, broadband quality, mobile broadband, mass transit coverage and airport connectivity which were among the areas that were measured.

Luz said the mayors remain the “key drivers,” but “we should not let the national government off the hook.”

The PwC nonetheless noted that “numerous airport projects are in the works to release the pressure valve on some overstretched airports” such as in the Philippines, “which ranked 108 out of 144 economies in quality of air transport infrastructure by the World Bank.”

“Our study ranks Cebu, the Philippines’ second-largest city, low in connectivity, including airport connectivity and access from the airport to the business district center. However, the city plans to add a second terminal to its Mactan-Cebu international airport, nearly tripling capacity to 12.5 million passengers when completed in 2018,” the PwC added.

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As for Manila, which also ranked low in connectivity “in part due to its low public transport systems ranking,” the PwC cited a proposed $8-billion subway network (the first to be built in the Philippines), dubbed the Mass Transit Loop, as part of a “long-term multi-modal transportation build-out.”

In health and welfare, where Cebu and Manila placed 26th and 27th, respectively, the two cities scored low in country-level, overall health system performance, hospital bed density, physician density, crime, electricity access and consumption, food security, and housing.

“The Philippines Medical Association says that 930,000 doctors are needed to serve their whole country, and yet a good percentage of Filipino doctors are becoming nurses or leaving the country to practice elsewhere,” the PwC noted.

As far as environmental sustainability is concerned, Manila joined Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and Lima in Peru as among the cities that showed “most room for improvement.”

The report cited Manila and Cebu as fast-rising middle class hubs. Manila is reportedly adding 670,000 to its middle-class ranks since 2013, PwC said.

“With a population of nearly 13 million (including a large, young, educated, and English-speaking population), it’s [Metro Manila] reaping the rewards of two decades of attracting business process outsourcing (BPO). Beginning with a single call center in 1992, it is now the world’s second largest BPO destination and has employed 900,000 Filipinos in the BPO sector with revenues growing to $15.5 billion from $1.5 billion in the last decade,” it noted.

As for Cebu, it has been posting a middle-class growth rate of 6.4 percent since 2013 and was ranked the eighth-largest global BPO destination, the PwC said.

Ayala Corp. chair and chief executive Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said it didn’t help that Metro Manila is a “unique case,” composed of several cities and mayors with no overarching framework to unite.

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TAGS: APEC 2015, Cebu, Manila, Nation, News
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