A thoughtful look at Northern Mindanao’s growth



In my last two columns, I focused on the Davao region's economy. This week we turn our attention to Northern Mindanao, the administrative region that includes the provinces of Misamis Oriental and Occidental, Lanao del Norte, Bukidnon, and Camiguin. Its regional capital is the bustling city of Cagayan de Oro. Its economy is now at P985 billion in terms of value, a close second to the Davao Region's P1.02 trillion economy. It grew at 5.3 percent last year, down from the high 7.2 percent growth the year earlier. It has the highest per capita Gross Regional Domestic Product at about ₱227,807 per year, slightly higher than the country's second highest, the Davao Region.

Northen Mindanao exports pineapples and can produce a lot of food which can easily be supplied to other regions. It hosts a variety of manufacturing companies in Industrial hubs such as the PHIVIDEC Industrial Estate and the industrial city of Iligan.

The statement of the NEDA region 10 cites the slowdown in the growth of the Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Sector by 0.2 percent to the current 0.3 percent growth and the contraction of the manufacturing sector by -1.3 percent, leaving the industry sector at 12 percent of the total economy. What will account for the manufacturing contraction will need to be studied further. This sector needs to expand to create jobs and products we use.

These realities notwithstanding, Northern Mindanao’s economy is still a fast-growing economy. Over the coming years, I will expect it to grow faster as major infrastructure developments may prove to be game changers that can boost this growth. The Panguil Bay bridge that will be completed soon will connect Misamis Occidental and Lanao del Norte. This will increase transport between the two provinces and may also provide an alternative for travelers headed to Iligan City from Manila, since airlines land at the Ozamis airport.

In all, the bridge creates economic activities and consolidates a long economic corridor along Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte, and Misamis Oriental. This includes the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Oroquieta, Ozamis, Tangub, Gingoog, and Iligan. This will bring opportunity to the region’s 5,022,768 residents and further growth to the economy. This will increase logistics efficiencies and create more opportunities for many towns and provinces along the route.


Boosting UP Mindanao’s offerings

As an alumnus of the University of the Philippines, I am happy to see my alma mater making deeper inroads into the local population of Mindanao. A doctor of medicine program, a civil engineering program, and graduate programs in quantitative modeling are set to begin at the UP Mindanao campus in Davao City.

With a Mindanaoan at the helm of the UP System in the person of Angelo Jimenez the focus on making the university reach out to more Filipinos is clear. As Mindanao’s different economies keep growing, some challenges threaten inclusive growth and development. A pandemic and shifting climate are but some of them.  To face these bumps on the road to continuous growth and development we need strong hearts and new skills to help everyone weather the storms and build the opportunities that will create a positive future that can amplify the gains of growth for a greater number. Of interest to me is the MS in Quantitative Modeling, a field that will develop professionals who can help crunch the economic numbers I have been featuring on regional economies such as the one mentioned above.  We wish the university the best.