September 21, 2021

Caraga banking on private investments, state support

News - Surigao del Norte News


SURIGAO CITY -- Caraga’s business community remains bullish on the regional economy’s prospects, partly because of recent investments and also due to government development support, a leader of the sector said in a recent interview.

Johann Jake B. Miranda, business sector representative to the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and outgoing president of the Surigao business chamber, said in a phone interview that traders are optimistic that economic activities here would get a boost from recent investors, including in the mineral sector.

Mr. Miranda said the entry of the Gaisano Group in Surigao City reflects confidence in improving consumer spending at least in this city and the province of Surigao del Norte.

He also cited large-scale mining firms now active in the region such as Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., which is spending an estimated P62.7 billion in its nickel project in Claver, Surigao del Norte, as well as AAM-Phil Natural Resources and Exploration Development Corp.’s chromite and nickel project on Dinagat Island.

Construction is under way on the first nickel processing plant in the region that sits in a 670-hectare Special Economic Zone in Claver.

The confidence of local businessmen is also upbeat because of the government’s focus on the region, Mr. Miranda said. "Caraga and ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) are the government’s priority now, so there is no way to go but up for this region," he added.

He added that MinDA, which is based in Davao City, will set up a field office in the city to make it easier for traders in the region to air their concerns. "It will be easier for (the region’s businessmen) to call us and will be easier for us to run after (government men) who reportedly extort favor from investors here," he said.

President Benigno S. C. Aquino III is expected to attend the 4th International Game Fishing tournament in Dapa, Siargao Island on April 28-29. Organizers said Mr. Aquino will do the symbolic casting of the fishing line to start the event. Fifty anglers from Manila, Cebu, Davao, Japan, Malaysia and Russia will participate in the four-day international event.

On a more basic level, government support extends to efforts to address poverty in the region, primarily through conditional cash transfers for the identified poorest families. Latest National Statistics Office data showed number of poor families in Caraga growing to 187,278 in 2009 from 163,783 in 2006. -- V. L. Almeda

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