Caraga is an administrative region of the Philippines, on the northeastern portion of the island of Mindanao. It is the newest region in the Philippines, and is also called Region XIII. The Caraga Region was created through Republic Act No. 7901 on February 25 1995. The region is composed of five (5) provinces: Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur; five (5) cities: Cabadbaran, Bayugan, Butuan, Surigao and Bislig; seventy (70) municipalities and 1,346 barangays. Butuan City is the regional center.
The "Kalagans", called "Caragans" by the Spaniards, occupied the district composed of the two provinces of Surigao, the northern part of Davao Oriental and eastern Misamis Oriental. The two Agusan Provinces were later organized under the administrative jurisdiction of Surigao and became the independent Agusan province in 1914. In 1960, Surigao was divided into Norte and Sur, and in June 1967, Agusan followed suit. While Butuan then was just a town of Agusan, the logging boom in the 1950s drew business to the area. On August 2 1950, by virtue of Republic Act 523, the City Charter of Butuan was approved.
It is reported that during the early years of the Caraga region, its inhabitants came from mainland Asia, followed by Malayans, Arabs, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Americans. Migrants from the Visayan and Luzon provinces later settled in the area. Most of its inhabitants speak Cebuano and reside in the rural areas.
| Pop. density|
|Agusan del Norte||Cabadbaran||285,570||1,773.2||161.0|
|Agusan del Sur||Prosperidad||559,294||8,966.0||62.4|
|Dinagat Islands||San Jose||802.1|
|Surigao del Norte||Surigao City||481,416||1,936.9||175.8|
|Surigao del Sur||Tandag||501,808||4,552.2||110.2|
The region has a total land area of 18,846.97 km². This represents 6.3% of the country’s total land area and 18.5% of the island of Mindanao. 47.6% of the total land area of the region belongs to the province of Agusan del Sur.
Topography The region is characterized by mountainous areas, flat and rolling lands. Mountain ranges divide Agusan and Surigao Provinces and sub-ranges separate most of the lowlands along the Pacific Coast. The most productive agricultural area of the region lies along the Agusan River Basin. The famous Agusan Marsh also sits in the middle of Agusan del Sur. Among the lakes in the region, Lake Mainit is the widest. It traverses eight (8) municipalities: Alegria, Tubod, Mainit and Sison in the Province of Surigao del Norte and Tubay, Santiago, Jabonga and Kitcharao in Agusan del Norte.
GRDP in 2000 amounted to P14.336 Billion as against the 1999 performance of P13.599 Billion. The deceleration of the region’s economy from 6.03% in 1999 to 5.42% in 2000 was attributed to the slowdown of the Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry (AFF) and Services sectors. The improved performance of the Industry sector, from 5.69% in 1999 to 6.69% in 2000, cushioned the effects of what could have been a slowdown of the region’s economy.
Among the four (4) provinces, Agusan del Sur registered the largest population at 559,294, and Surigao del Norte the smallest at 481,416. In terms of growth rate, Surigao del Norte was the fastest growing province with an annual average growth rate of 1.84% over the last five (5) years, while Surigao del Sur was the slowest at 1.35% over the same period.
Butuan and Surigao Cities which were included in the census tabulation have total population of 267,279 and 118,534, respectively. Butuan City registered an annual growth rate of 1.70% in the last five (5) years, while Surigaob City posted 2.65%.
It is reported that during the early years of the Caraga region, its inhabitants came from mainland Asia, followed by Malayans, Arabs, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Americans. Migrants from the Visayan and Luzon provinces later settled in the area. Most of its inhabitants speak the Cebuano dialect and reside in the rural areas.
On a national and Mindanao-wide perspective, Caraga Region is one of the most impoverished regions in the country. The region has the fourth highest poverty incidence level of families among all the regions in the country for years 1997 and 2000 while among Mindanao regions, Caraga has the third highest poverty incidence (in terms of incidence of families).
The region’s contribution to Mindanao’s domestic product is 7.58% in 2003. In terms of per capita income, Caraga has the second lowest per capita income among Mindanao regions and nationwide. In 2003, the region accounted for 1.35% of the country’s GNP.
Caraga’s economic performance, in terms of the GVA and the GRDP, was not as robust as expected. Nevertheless, some bright spots in the region’s economic sector emerged from 2001-2003 which the region can capitalize to further increase economic growth and maximize social welfare.
From the 1.4% decrease in the GRDP in 2000-2001, the GRDP bounced back in 2001-2002 by a 0.9% growth. The positive trend was maintained in 2002-2003, with the region’s GRDP growing by 0.9%, the same growth rate from the previous year.
The agriculture, fishery and forestry (AFF) sector is Caraga’s banner economic sector, exhibiting an increasing growth trend of 3.8% and 6.8% growth rates in 2001 and 2003 respectively. Despite the decreasing growth trend of the agriculture and fishery subsectors, the sizeable growth rate of the forestry subsector more than compensated for the decrease. The forestry subsector grew by 36.3% in 2003, the highest growth rate for any subsector in the region. It is also important to note that Caraga region has the highest GVA in the forestry subsector among all regions in the Philippines.
The services sector is also one of the bright spots in the region’s economy. After experiencing a decelerated growth rate in 2002 compared to the previous year’s 6.1% growth rate, the sector bounced back in 2003 with a 5.6% growth rate. Moreover, the trade subsector continued to be the dominant subsector posting a 5.6%, 6.6% and 6.3% growth rate in 2001 to 2003 respectively. It is significant to note that all the subsectors posted positive growth rates in 2001 and 2003. The transportation, communication and storage sub-sector posted the highest growth rate of 8.4% among the sub-sectors in the services sector.
The industry sector was the worst performing sector of the regional economy with a continuous decline from 2001-2003. Although the sector’s slide slightly decelerated in 2002 (-6.7% in 2002 from -13.3% decline in 2001), it contracted by -12.1% in 2003. The construction subsector had the largest decline of 16.6%, 11.3% and 33.5% in 2001, 2002 and 2003 respectively. The mining subsector also posted negative growth rates but the decreasing trend in this subsector decelerated. The manufacturing offset the decrease in the two sub-sectors by growing at 8.9% in 2003, making it the biggest contributor to this sector. It should be noted that even with the negative performance of the mining and quarrying sector, Caraga was the second highest producer of metallic minerals, with metallic mineral productions valued at PhP 1.25 billion in 2001 (Philippine Yearbook, 2003).
The amount of exports from the region and investments pouring in the region are concrete indicators of a region’s economic dynamism, progress and development. It also serves as an indirect indicator of the business climate in the region and a barometer of investor confidence in the region.
Investments in the region fell by 25.4% from PhP 6.3 billion in 2002 to PhP 4.6 billion in 2003. All provinces in the region posted a negative growth rate in investments, with Agusan del Sur posting the biggest year-on-year decline of 62.6% for the 2002-2003 period. Agusan del Norte’s percentage share on investments increased from 64.8% to 79.5% despite an 8.5% decline. Per DTI Caraga’s advise, the data on investments are partial at best and is not reflective of the whole investment level in the region. DTI Caraga’s data does not include public investment figures.
Exports decreased by 19.08% in the 2000-2001 period and 57.52% in 2001-2002. Agusan Norte, Surigao Norte and Surigao Sur posted negative growth rates in the 2000-2001 period, with Surigao Sur posting the biggest decrease in exports (81.31%). In 2002, Agusan Norte posted an impressive 741.04% increase in exports, a harbinger of increased economic activity in the province. Surigao Norte posted the biggest decrease in exports for 2002 (63.17%).
It is of interest to note that Caraga’s percentage contribution to Mindanao’s exports has been erratic. In 2000, the region contributed 1.87% to Mindanao’s exports; this expanded to 2.68% in 2001 only to decrease to 0.77% in 2002.
|Agusan Del Norte||Agusan Del Sur||Surigao Del Norte||Surigao Del Sur|
|rice, coconut, corn, mango, bananas, palm oil, vegetables, and prawns||diamond||Ironwood, nickeleferous laterite ore, gold, chromite, lode ore, and laterite ore; limestone, silica deposits, guano, rock phosphate, sand, and gravel; chromate; Marlin, tuna, lapu-lapu, molluscs, crabs, even squids, stingrays, and octopuses||palay, corn, coconut, abaca, soybeans, coffee, and other high value crops; prawns, milkfish, and crabs; are Narra, red and white Lauan, Mayapis, Almon, Apitong, Yakal, Bagtikan, Tanguile, Rattan and Bonbon|
Among the region's tropical treat include: a boat ride along the naturally-carved water channels amidst the jade-colored lush of mangrove forest in Barangay Manjagao; a journey to the floating village of Barangay Dayasan, and to Buenavista Cave; and a visit to the tropical island paradise of white sand beach, deep blue crystal water in Sagisi island. The Britania in San Agustin-Surigao del Sur hosts 25 unspoiled islets and islands of sugary-white sand and clusters of limestones hills, much like the fabled hundred islands in pangasinan. After having enough sightseeing, swimming and snorkeling, you can spread your picnic blankets in the sand and eat with gusto amidst the serenade of slashing waves and the whispering winds. But you have to bring your food and drinks since there are no restaurants yet in the islands.
Surigao first became famous for its surf, so kayakers who like big waves enjoy it very much. There are also mangrove swamps in the island where you can paddle both in the main channel and through narrow passages in the mangroves while seeing some wildlife and enjoying the serenity of the place. The first is just behind the Pansukian Tropical Resort while the other one is in del Carmen, where the largest contiguous mangrove forest in the Philippines is located. The "must see" place in Caraga where you can paddle around spectacular limestone formations to a point where you can enter a narrow channel which soon becomes a cave is in Sohoton Cave and Lagoon in Bucas Grande Island, which is more than an hour boat ride from Siargao. Since the sport is new here, only Pansukian Tropical Resort offers kayak tours in several locations around Siargao. Aside from sea kayaking, Masao & Agusan Rivers, Lake Mainit and the Agusan Marshland have tremendous potential for paddling using wooden canoes.
The region has a total of 49 higher education institutions comprising 45 private Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and 4 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs). Among the Higher Education Institutions, San Nicolas College (now St. Paul University-Surigao) is identified as the center for development in teacher education and the regional center for gender and development, it being the seat of CARAGA Women's resources center. While one of the SUCs, the Northern Mindanao State Institute of Science and Technology (NORMISIST), is the seat of the CARAGA center for environmental studies and management (CCESM), acts as the focal point of capability building and coordination for environmental efforts in the region.
The oldest school in Caraga, the Urios College, was founded by Caraga's most loved Spanish missionary, Fr. Saturnino Urios S.J. in 1901. The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) recognized Urios College as one of the best schools in the region producing topnotchers in national board examinations in Nursing, Engineering and Accountancy. Its performance in the Licensure Examinations for Teachers (LET) and the Philippine Bar (BAR) is also relatively high. On July 12, 2006, Urios College formally announced its elevation into a University and is now renamed Fr. Saturnino Urios University (FSUU), the first home-grown university in Caraga.
For the school year 1996–1997, the participation rate for public elementary schools was 93.65%. Public secondary schools registered a lower rate, 56%. The teacher-to-pupil ratios for both levels were within the standard of one (1) teacher per forty (40) pupils. Cohort survival rates were considered low for both the elementary and secondary levels at 66.23% and 68.93%, respectively. For the school year 1996–97, dropout rate at the secondary level was high, especially in Butun City (9.5%) and Surigao Del Sur (7.8%). This can be one of the causes why the majority of the population finished only up to the elementary school level.
All of the leading causes of morbidity from 1992–1997 were communicable diseases, and showed a reduction in rates for every 1,000,000 population, except for pneumonia (836.30 to 1,200.23), diarrhea (1,059.40 to 1,133.11), influenza (655.36 to 926.74), and malaria (216.80 to 366.5). With regards to the leading causes of mortality, lifestyle-related diseases like cardiovascular diseases and cancer top the list, replacing the communicable diseases.
The region is faced with problems of endemic diseases like schistosomiasis and malaria. Although there was a slight reduction in its prevalence for the past three years, still Caraga ranked as number two in schistosomiasis cases and number six in malaria cases nationwide.
Malnutrition rates were posted at 49.25%, of which 34.05% were classified as mildly underweight, 11.66% as moderately underweight, 1.43% as severely underweight and 3.60% as overweight.
Life expectancy for the region, based on the 1995 census, was 65.73 years old for males and 70.98 years old for females.
As of 1997, there were 62 hospitals in the region, of which 35 were government and 27 were private. Out of the 27 private hospitals, 20 were primary, 4 secondary and 3 tertiary. Out of the 35 government hospitals, 18 were primary, 14 were secondary and 3 were tertiary. There were 73 main health centers, 489 barangay health stations manned by 76 doctors, 147 nurses, 35 medical technologists, 45 dental aides, 52 dentists, 608 midwives and 137 sanitary inspectors. All of these were devolved to the local government units in accordance with the 1991 local Government code.
On the community-based services, only the PSCBDW is being managed by DSWD while the rest are managed by the LGU's.
The region had bridges with the combined length of 23,775.49 meters linear. Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur had the longest bridge length 9,288.520 m linear and 7,853,4 m linear, respectively.
The region is also serviced by commercial flights to and from Manila and Cebu through the airports of Butuan, Surigao, and Tandag. The Bislig airport used to serviced commercial flights before its operation were suspended. There are six other private owned airports in the region. The ports and airports are supported by the road natworks that connect the provinces within and outside the region.