EDITORIAL - Poor livability
(The Philippine Star) - November 20, 2015 - 9:00am

As the government rounded up street dwellers and imposed lockdowns to insulate leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum from urban blight in Metro Manila, a study ranked the summit host a dismal 22nd among 28 APEC cities in terms of livability.

The study released by PricewaterhouseCoopers in conjunction with the APEC 2015 CEO Summit also ranked Cebu 26th. Both Metro Manila and Cebu received their lowest ratings in health and welfare, placing 27th and 26th, respectively. Low marks were also given for the two mega-cities’ connectivity, which includes the quality of mass transportation.

Titled “Building Better Cities,” the PwC study used 39 indicators grouped into five categories: connectivity, culture and social health, environmental sustainability, health and welfare, and economics. Metro Manila also ranked low in competitiveness.

The PwC rankings tracked the results of similar studies earlier this year. Last June, Manila placed 136th out of 230 cities around the world in the 2015 Quality of Living Rankings drawn up by global consultancy firm Mercer. In August, Manila also placed 104th among 140 cities in the 2015 Global Livability Ranking released by the Economist Intelligence Unit. In Southeast Asia, the city-state of Singapore ranked highest in the EIU study at 48th followed by the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur at 73rd, Brunei’s Bandar Seri Begawan at 101st and Thai capital Bangkok at 102nd. Manila ranked ahead of Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, which placed 116th, and Vietnam’s Hanoi (118th) and Ho Chi Minh (122nd).

The cities consistently ranked as the world’s most livable cities are in the advanced economies. It will take time before the Philippines can catch up with their level of development. But both Metro Manila and Cebu as well as other Philippine cities can work to improve livability.

The studies on livability show where there’s a wide room for improvement. Government efforts to shield the APEC leaders from Metro Manila’s urban blight, especially traffic gridlocks and dismal transportation infrastructure merely highlighted the problems. After hosting the APEC summit, there must be greater resolve to confront those problems – not just so the country can impress visiting dignitaries, but to make Metro Manila more livable for its residents.

ACIRC BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN BOTH METRO MANILA AND CEBU BUILDING BETTER CITIES CITIES ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE UNIT GLOBAL LIVABILITY RANKING HO CHI MINH IN AUGUST MANILA METRO MANILA
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