Surigao del Norte Focusing on Sustainable Development
First Lady Sol Forcadilla Matugas, the first female governor of Surigao del Norte province, has launched a number of innovative programs to create new employment opportunities and stimulate the province’s economic development and investment appeal. She says, “I am committed to bringing the government and basic services closer to the people of Surigao del Norte to ensure the inclusive and sustainable growth of the province.” She adds, “We take pride in showcasing a province that is home to a warm and peace-loving people with a rich cultural and historical heritage, abundant natural resources and scenic tourism destinations.”
Surigao del Norte, located in the Caraga region of Mindanao, is made up of two major islands—Siargao Island and Bucas Grande Island—and a small region at the northernmost tip of Mindanao that borders Agusan del Norte and Surigao del Sur. The province is a key transport hub connecting Visayas and Mindanao. Its capital is Surigao City.
Thanks to its rich resources, Surigao del Norte offers a wealth of investment opportunities in sectors that include mining and minerals-processing, for example of gold, nickel and chromite; aquaculture; tourism (the province is well known for its surfing and sports fishing); agriculture; food processing; the production of organic fertilizers and feeds; and arts, crafts and jewelry-making, among others.
Previously serving as Regional Director of the Department of Education in three regions, Governor Sol Matugas launched several ground-breaking educational programs in Surigao del Norte, including Project Crème, which aims to make every child a reader; the Course in Reading and Speech for Teachers (CREST) project; and the School Head Advancement for Professional Excellence (SHAPE) initiative. She has received the Outstanding Suriganonon Award, the Woman of Distinction Award, and the National Award on Educational Management Systems.
Ambitious HEALS projects
The governor’s HEALS Development Agenda for Surigao del Norte includes projects in healthcare, education, the environment, agriculture, aquaculture, tourism, employment, social welfare, security and spiritual renewal. The governor says, “My goal is Ang Ban-ong Surigao, a new Surigao, based on healing and progress.”
In 2013, Surigao del Norte launched HEALS Plus, which builds on the first HEALS initiative and involves new projects in such areas as infrastructure, healthcare, social services, economic development, peace, disaster-preparedness and administrative improvements. Specific efforts include Golden Homes, a housing project for senior citizens; a provincial training center; tourism centers; training centers for people with disabilities; a provincial library and museum; a new legislative building for the province; the new Surigao Sports Complex; a peace village; and various healthcare and economic-development programs through public-private partnerships. Surigao del Norte welcomes foreign investors and partners as it continues to promote sustainable development and a better quality of life.