MANILA, Philippines - A boom in economic activity is taking place in the five provinces and six cities of the Caraga Region. The region is drawing more foreign and domestic investors to its agriculture, fisheries, mining, eco-tourism, and power generation sectors. Businessmen continue to forge agreements with local government units and private entities.
Caraga is a new administrative region in the Philippines, also referred to as Region 13. Created through Republic Act 7901 on February 25, 1995, the Caraga Region is composed of five provinces - Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte; and Surigao del Sur, Butuan City, the regional center; the cities of Cabadbaran, Bayugan, Butuan, Surigao, and Bislig; 70 municipalities and 1,346 barangays. Caraga has large tracts of land available for development. Its more than one million hectares of agricultural lands are rich in natural resources and minerals such as iron, gold, silver, nickel, and chromite.
The region is noted for its wood-based economy. Its leading crops are palay, banana, and coconut. It has tourism potentials because of beautiful beaches, abundant and fresh seafood, historical sites, hot springs, virgin forests, and good weather. It is Mindanao's gateway to Eastern Visayas and Luzon, with opportunities in inter-island trade and tourism.
A number of investments are taking off and may be in full operation this year. A Japanese group is in partnership with a local construction company in Butuan City for mini-hydro power plants. Korean and Chinese groups, including local investors, are operating a 50,000-hectare agricultural plantation in Butuan City and Agusan del Norte. Three local companies signed a memorandum of understanding with a firm for a big nickel mining operation that would create some 8,000 jobs. Surigao City has started its "Agri-Fisheries and Agro-Industrial Development Program" for 2012-2016 where an estimated 10,000 farmers will be benefitted. Korean officials have started surveying Agusan del Sur for the establishment of wood pellets plant in the economic zone area.
Caraga Region is showing great promise as an investment haven in Mindanao. The national government, local government units, and the private sector are coming together to provide coordinated action to boost the region's potential as an economic power and improve the lives of the people of the region, in 2012 and beyond. MORE POWER AND CONGRATULATIONS!