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Province of Surigao del Norte
 
Situationer
 

            The province is strategically located at the northeastern portion of Mindanao Island, Republic of the Philippines. With a ferry service terminal in Lipata, Surigao City serves as the link of the island of Mindanao to Eastern Visayas and Luzon. Likewise, existing transportation facilities and good roads make the province accessible to all growth centers in Mindanao.

            With Surigao City as its capital, the province has twenty seven (27) municipalities of which eleven (11) are located in the mainland of Mindanao, nine (9) in Siargao Island and seven (7) in Dinagat Island.

            Falling under the Type II climate - without pronounced dry season - the province’s average annual rainfall is 3,639 mm. The average number of rainy days per month from November to March ranges from 20-25 days and about 13-18 days per month from April to October.

            The province has a total land area of 273,902 hectares of which 121,573 are alienable and disposable and 152,329 classified as forestland. Within the forestland, 101,475 hectares are under the mineral reservation.
 
            In 1995 provincewide population reached 442,203 of which 104,909 is in Surigao City.

The province is endowed with rich mineral resources. Recent data of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources reveals a significant metallic and non-metallic mineral ore reserves. (See resources)
 
            Aside from the abovelisted non-metallic minerals, significant volume of clay and undetermined quantity of semi-precious stones in various areas are also ready for productive utilization for ceramics and gemstone processing industries.

            The continuous operation of the existing mining companies or the establishment of new ones can significantly improve the province’s economic condition. The utilization of refined gold and other metals for the manufacturing of jewelries will be a boom to the local economy.

            The existence of a number of mining companies have provided employment to the local populace. It is recognized, however, that more economic benefits can be enjoyed by the province if metallic minerals extracted and disposed to mineral processors in the country and abroad can be processed right here in the province. The recent thrust of the government for the promotion and development of heavy industries, emphasizing on metallic mineral processing, is expected to boost local economy and can offer employment opportunities of the local workforce.

            The optimism on the growth of the mining and mineral processing sector will be realized with the operationalization of the Nonoc Nickel Refinery of the PHILNICO Processing Corporation among others. At present, rehabilitation works is on-going of which actual operation is expected to start by 2001. Moreover, PHILNICO together with the local government units has been pushing for the establishment of the Nonoc Island Special Economic Zone that will encourage other mineral processing establishments to locate in the proposed economic zone with an area of at least 590 hectares.   A total of 106 hectares is earmarked for initial development which already includes the site of the PHILNICO nickel refinery.

            Another area to be developed is the tourism industry.  The province has a number of promising tourist spots which only needs investment infusion for its development into world-class tourist resorts. White beaches, lakes, lagoons, caves and other scenic attractions can be found in various locations. Since 1991 until May 1996 a total of 167,845 domestic and foreign tourist visited Surigao City.

            In 1996, the significant event which can be considered a breakthrough in the local tourism industry is the sponsorship of the Siargao Surfing Competition on September 23-26, 1996 at Gen. Luna, Siargao Island which was participated by 25 international surfers mostly from Australia and some local surfers from Luzon.  Since then, the Siargao Surfing Cup was institutionalized and conducted regularly every year attended by surfers from Australia, the United States, Japan and other Asian countries.  Other events such as Mountain Biking Competition, Kite Flying and others are also held in the area.

        Siargao Island is a declared national protected area. The project dubbed as Siargao Island Protected Landscape and Seascape (SIPLAS) is being implemented for the purpose of protecting the island's critical eco-system.  As such, it is the province's primary eco-tourism destination.
 

            Tourist Arrivals in Surigao City (1991-1999)
 

Year
Domestic
Foreign
Total
% Increase over Previous Year
1991
9,124
892
10,016
-
1992
10,308 
1,140 
11,448
12
1993
12,451
1,502
13,953
22
1994
17,712
2,389
20,101 
44
1995
48,865
3,883
52,748 
162
1996
55,362
4,217
59,579
12.95
1997
52,411
4,176
56,587
(5.02) 
1998
51,121
3,981
55,102
 (2.62)
1999
57,602
3,650
61,252
11.16
2000
68,087
5,174
73,241
19.57
                Source: City Tourism Office, Surigao City - 1999
 

            The above figures reflect a significant increase in 1995 figures over the 1994 posting 162 % increase in Surigao City alone. However, with the national economic crisis and cut-off of flights of the Philippine Air Lines in 1997, a decline in tourist arrivals was experienced until 1998.   A total of 61,252 tourists arrivals was recorded in the city in 1999 posting an eleven per cent increase over 1998 figures.  Some of the factors that contributes to the influx of visitors is the intensive promotion activities and the development of new tourist sites among others.
  
            Though inflow of tourist has been increasing significantly, the growth of this industry could have been greater with the establishment of adequate and quality facilities and amenities such as resorts, hotels, communication systems, potable water supply and reliable transport systems.

            The province has excellent fishing areas with 12,540 square miles of marine fishing grounds.  In 1999, total fish catch both in municipal and commercial fishing operations reached 46,907 metric tons.
 

Volume of Fish Catch by Classification (in Metric Tons)
   
YEAR
Commercial
Municipal Marine
Inland Municipal
Aqua-Culture
Total
1995
3,456
 40,238
2,964
 134
46,792.00
1996
2,481
 40,271
2,645
293 
45,690.00
1997
3,260
40,077
2,454
288
46,079
1998
3,710
41,280
1,638
369
46,999
1999
3,769
41,390
1,242
506
46,907
Source: Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, Surigao City 1999

 
            The total agricultural land of 146,007 hectares is producing various crops. Annual production of major crops is shown below.
 

                    Annual Crop Production
 

CROPS Production (Metric Tons)
Rice
65,304.00
Coconut 
65,501.92
Corn
964.00
Banana
20,049.33
Root Crops
41,241.60 
Vegetables 
3,267.16
Abaca
17.64
Fruits
6,130.80
                           Source: BAS, Surigao del Norte - 1999

 
            Considering raw materials availability, potentials of agri-based processing industries is great. Initial efforts has already been done to develop these sectors.

            Local aqua-marine traders have contributed to the export earnings of the country with their continuous trading of export quality marine products such as lobsters, prawns, squids and others. With the unlimited market base for these resource-based products, expansion activities and development of processing ventures are opportunities that can be tapped by existing entrepreneurs and new investors.

            Recently, agricultural development efforts has been redirected to high value crops. In 1996, the Provincial Government initiated efforts towards the development of seaweeds and abaca industry.

             The highest number of business name recorded in a year time was in 1995 with a total of 434 original and renewal business registrations was processed.  In 1999, a total of 215 new establishments were registered.
 

                          Business Registration (Original & Renewal)
 

Year
Business Registration
1991
157
1992
321
1993
412
1994
357
1995
434
1996
308
1997
291
1998
363
1999
215
2000
193
                                Source: DTI- Surigao City 1999

            As to infusion of investments, average annual investment generated in the province is P 1.9 Billion pesos. Most of the investments were on new and expansion projects of mining establishments. Lately, a number of investors have also funneled in their capital to various tourism projects in the province such as hotels and beach resorts.

 
            Investment and Exports, 1993-1999
   

YEAR
INVESTMENTS
(P MILLION)
EXPORTS
(US $ M)
1993
507.343
6.690
1994
6,817.780
7.146
1995
184.670
14.552
1996
341.741
15.800
1997
2,269.503
 16.290
1998
 1,545.950
25.428
1999
3,334.000
12.213
2000
1,254.000
22.480
                Source: DTI - Surigao City 1999
 

            On trade development, exports of mineral products has been increasing since 1993.  In 1996, a total of US $ 15.8 Million FOB value of exports were shipped out. Bigger bulk of the province’s exports are mineral ores - mostly nickel silicate and laterite, and chromite.
                      

            In 1990, available labor force is 148,402 of which 9.03 % is unemployed. Based on NSO figures, overall employment figures in 1990 by various sectors totaled to 134,023. Though the employment figures could be high at 90.97 %, this doesn’t precludes that the overall economic condition of the populace is better. It must be noted that more than half of those employed, i.e. 53 % is in the agriculture and forestry most of which are seasonal workers. This is followed by the community, social and personal services sector at 12.49 % and trade at 8.18 %. Mining industry employed 5.81 % - an equivalent of 7,792 persons.

 
            Employment by Industry Sectors
 

Industry Sector
Employment 
(no)
% Share 
of 
Sector
1. Agriculture & Forestry
71,696
53.50
2. Mining & Quarrying
7,792
5.81
3. Manufacturing
4,185
3.12
4. Construction
3,448
2.57
5. Electricity, Gas & Water
433
0.32
6. Transportation and Storage
3,808 
2.84
7. Trade
10,957 
8.18
8. Finance, Insu, Real Estate &   
    Business Services
936
.70 
9. Community, Social&Personal Services 
16,739
12.49
10. Others
14,029
10.47 
Provincial Total
134,023
100.00
                Source: NSO - 1990

 
            The labor force of the province is projected to reach 238,328 with a participation rate of 55.8 % by the year 2000 based on a study conducted by the UNFA-NCSO Population Research Project.

            With all these positive factors, plus the availability of highly literate and trainable manpower, all we need to accelerate rural industrialization is the inflow of investment on resource based industries and introduction of cost efficient technologies to tap the province’s natural and God-given resources.

            The development thrust is primarily geared towards improving the living condition of the provincial populace which in 1994 about 56.4 % or 55,402 families are living below the poverty threshold level with an average family income of P 47,556.00.
 

 Poverty Incidence in the Province of Surigao del Norte
   
Indicator 
1991
1994
Annual Per Capita Poverty Threshold
P 6,371
P 8,901
(interim estimates)
 
 
Magnitude of Families
53,099
55,402 
Incidence
58.30 %
56.04 %
Average Per Capita Income
P 8,064.00 
P 10,539.00
Average Family Income
P 38,614.00
P 47,556.00
  Source: PPDO, Surigao del Norte - 1997
 
 
            The aggressiveness to push for development is actually facing some constraints. It is believed that the alarming depletion of some natural resources such as forest and marine life will pull back the momentum gained towards economic growth. Measures need to be undertaken to control illegal extraction of these valuable natural resources and to sustain development. Moreover, appropriate support to the government’s environmental management programs will have to be undertaken. Recently, few NGOs have responded actively to address critical environmental management concerns in various areas in the province.

            Another threat that affects the province’s industrial development are natural calamities. Since the province faces the Pacific Ocean, typhoons occasionally send havoc to the populace and the general environment. Although being used most often as the reference point for all typhoons entering the country, PAG-ASA data shows that it is less frequented by typhoons compared to the Bicol regions in Southeastern Luzon.

            The province is generally peaceful, although the presence of some criminal elements creates sporadic disturbances in the communities. Concerted efforts of the provincial leadership and other sectors shall be geared towards preserving peace to allow the economy sustain its momentum towards economic recovery.

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