Caraga is an administrative region of the Philippines, on the northeastern portion of the island of Mindanao, designated as Region XIII. The Caraga Region was created through Republic Act No. 7901 on February 23, 1995. The region is composed of five provinces: Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Dinagat Islands; six cities: Butuan City, Cabadbaran, Surigao, Tandag, Bislig and Bayugan; 67 municipalities and 1,311 barangays. Butuan City is the regional administrative center.

From 2001 to 2003, Caraga Region consistently maintained its performance vis-à-vis other regions in Mindanao. Caraga posted a 0.9% growth rate compared to the 9.5% growth rate of Region 12 and the 2.6% growth rate of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Caraga's growth rate in 2001-2002 and the 2002-2003 period was the same (0.9%). This was much less than the growth of the population. This performance was better however than the region's performance in the 2000-2001 period, where the region's economy declined by 1.4%.

The region's contribution to Mindanao's domestic product is 7.58% in 2003. Caraga has the second lowest per capital income among Mindanao regions and nationwide. In 2003, the region accounted for 1.35% of the country's GNP.

Gross regional domestic product (GRDP)

The region performed fairly well in terms of regional output contributing 8.01% in 1998, 8.25% in 1999 and 8.29% in 2000 to the Mindanao GRDP. The region contributed 1.44% in 1998, 1.48% in 1999 and 1.50% in 2000, to the Philippine economy. In terms of growth rate, the region accelerated faster and outpaced the other regions in Mindanao from 1998 to 2000, except for the Southern Mindanao Region which posted a 6.06% increase in 1999-2000. Caraga Region recorded a 5.42% increase during the same period.

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.

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).

Exports and investments

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%).

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.[9]

Natural resources

The region is noted for its wood based economy, its extensive water resources and its rich mineral deposits such as iron, gold, silver, nickel, chromite, manganese and copper. Its leading crops are palay, banana and coconut.

The region features several beaches, abundant seafood, hot and cold springs, evergreen forests and balmy weather.

Major products

Major agricultural products of the region include palay, corn, coconut, gold, banana, rubber, oil palm, calamansi, prawns, milkfish, crabs, seaweeds and mango. Caraga's proximity to Cebu and Manila makes it a favorable shipping point for products to and from these markets. Nasipit Port can serve as a secondary shipping hub to Cagayan de Oro when traffic volume from other points in Mindanao increases. With a roll-on, roll-off (RORO) ferry service now in place, Surigao City serves as a vital transportation link for trucks and buses bound for Luzon.

Agusan del Norte Agusan del Sur Surigao del Norte Surigao del Sur Dinagat Islands
rice, coconut, corn, mango, bananas, palm oil, vegetables, and prawns gold Ironwood, nickeliferous laterite ore, gold, chromite, lode ore, and laterite ore; limestone, silica deposits, guano, rock phosphate, sand, and gravel; chromate; Marlin, tuna, lapu-lapu, mollusks, crabs, even squid, 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 seafood, coconut and other lumber products, mines

 (From Wikipedia)

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