The Caraga Region’s economy expanded by 4.3 percent in 2017. This is 2.5 percentage points higher than the growth recorded in 2016. This performance is just 0.2 percentage point short of the target stipulated in the Caraga Regional Development Plan 2017-2022.
The Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry, and Fishing and Industry sectors recovered from their negative performance in 2016 while Services continued to expand in 2017.The AHFF sector slightly recovered from a negative 1.6 percent growth in 2016 to a positive 0.9 percent in 2017. Both Agriculture and Forestry, and Fishing posted growths of 1.0 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. Several weather disturbances during the year such as TD Auring and TD Vinta in Surigao provinces, pest infestation, and occurrence of diseases may have impeded the further growth of the AFF sector. Services remained to account for the largest share in the region’s economy at 49.7 percent. This is followed by Industry with 34.3 percent and Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing with 16.0 percent.
Of the 4.3 percent growth of Caraga in 2017, Services contributed 3.5 percentage points. Industry and Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing contributed 0.6 percentage point and 0.2 percentage point, respectively.
The Industry Sector rebounded with a 1.8 percent growth in 2017 from a negative growth of 3.8 percent in 2016. The growth is due to the expansion in Construction by 14.3 percent and Manufacturing by 5.0 percent. Mining and Quarrying (M&Q) and Electricity, Gas, and Water Supply both pulled down the growth of Industry with contractions of 4.3 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively.
Among the subsectors, M&Q accounts for the largest share to GRDP at 18.5 percent.
However, M&Q’s performance persistently contracted; from a negative 8.5 percent growth in 2016, its growth in 2017 remains at negative -4.3 percent. Initial data from MGB as of 3rd quarter 2017 shows a decreasing production of nickel ore, gold, and silver (data for gold and silver from PMC only; no data from Greenstone Resources Corp yet). Moreover, prices of metals in the global market only started to improve in August 2017.
Despite the contracting performance, Caraga remains the main contributor of nickel all over the country as it accounts for 57 percent of the total metal production; and contributes about 82 percent of the total nickel production in the country.
Manufacturing continues to expand. However, its growth slightly slowed down in 2017. From a 6.0 percent growth in 2016, it went down to 5.0 percent in 2017.The steady growth of the subsector can be attributed to the increase in number of wood processing plants in the region, and the sustained support provided by the government to micro, small and medium enterprises.
Construction continues to expand from a 2.5 percent growth in 2016 to 14.3 percent in 2017. Although private construction slowed down in 2017, high spending in public construction resulted in remarkable growth of the subsector.
Service Sector continues to expand in 2017 with 7.2 percent growth. Although expanding, the subsector’s growth slowed down due to decreased performance of Financial Intermediation; from 14.7 percent growth in 2016, it went down to 8.1 percent in 2017. This can be attributed to the decline in lending activities of microfinancing firms.
To sustain the growth of region, the following strategies will be pursued:
- Diversify the region’s economy. With the AFF sector being prone to climate-related hazards or weather disturbances, it is imperative to diversify the region’s economy particularly by promoting more value-adding and processing activities in agriculture and forestry, and the operationalization of the proposed special economic zones. Further, there is a need to explore the development of a knowledge-based economy in the region. Developing a knowledge-based economy requires investments in the education system, research and development and information technology.
- Upgrade the skills of the region’s human resources. Considering the high underemployment levels of the region, this strategy entails conducting initiatives to train and retrain the pool of workers. Continuous building of capacities will allow workers to shift to higher skill jobs that will eventually strengthen job matching in the region, thus improving Caraga’s employment structure.
- Provide adequate infrastructure facilities. The region requires a more stable power supply, more concrete roads and bridges that will provide redundant access to key production areas and tourism sites, cold storage and post-harvest facilities, functional irrigation facilities, improved airports and seaports, digital infrastructure, social infrastructure including health facilities and solid waste management facilities.
- Ensure public support for and enhance social assistance and livelihood programs. The social protection programs are essential interventions to improve the quality of lives of marginalized Caraganons. The region must ensure proper implementation of these programs in order to allow those living in extreme as well as moderate poverty to participate in and benefit from the developments of the region.
Philippine Statistics Authority Caraga