In between Mining and Development
The Dinagat Islands are a group of islands constituting a province in the Caraga region. It is one of the newest provinces in the country.
The province consists of seven towns and 100 villages with a total population of 126,803. Dinagat, the main island, is home to at least 20 threatened species of animals and plants. It is best known for its tourist spots and different minerals and natural resources. The locals are called “Dinagatnons”. Their primary sources of income are fishing and farming.
The entire island group was declared as a mineral reservation. At least 22 percent of the land area can be used for other purposes while the rest is mineral land with active mining. In the year 2006, mining companies started to operate in the province. Eight large-scale nickel mining companies are operating.
The operation has a negative effect on the environment as they dig and break the soil: it destroys watersheds; it causes degradation of forests and siltation of coastal and other water bodies. Due to this huge negative impact, the farmers in the province are suffering, losing their farm land and they have to lower their production.
To try and emerge from these crises, the local government units and the mining companies join forces to form a development program. The program will train the farmers to acquire new skills and abilities. They also have running projects for, for exapmle, road concreting, constructing a water system, improving livelihood, education, health and socio-cultural activities.
Nowadays, Dinagat Island is flourishing and working to be more progressive.