SoCCSKSarGen is a region of the Philippines, located in central Mindanao, and is officially designated as Region XII. The name is an acronym that stands for the region's four provinces and one of its cities: South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City. The regional center is Koronadal City located in the province of South Cotabato. Cotabato City, though geographically within the boundaries of the province of Maguindanao, itself is part of SOCCSKSARGEN, and is independent of that province. Maguindanao province is a part of another special region called the ARMM which has its seat in Cotabato City.
Per Executive Order No. 36 issued on 19 September 2001, Region XII is composed of the provinces of North Cotabato, Sarangani, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat, and the cities of Cotabato, General Santos, Kidapawan, Koronadal and Tacurong. The City of Koronadal has been designated as the administrative center of Region XII by virtue of Executive Order No. 304, issued by Former President Gloria M. Arroyo on March 30, 2004.
Region XII has a total land area of 19,165.87 sq. km., which is about 17% that of Mindanao . Among the four provinces of the region, North Cotabato has the biggest area at 6,019.78 sq. km. It is about 30.4% of the region's area. The smallest among the provinces is Sultan Kudarat with an area of 4,401.06 sq. km.
Among the five cities of the region, General Santos City has the biggest land area at 668.49 sq. km., with Tacurong City as the smallest at 161.96 sq. km.
The population of Region XII as of May 2010 stood at 4.11 million persons, placing it at 10th rank among the heavily populated regions nationwide. It registered a 2.46% population growth rate (PGR) for the period 2000-2010, making it 2nd among five regions in the country with PGR higher than the National PGR of 1.90% annually.
Among the provinces, Cotabato (North) Province had the largest population with 1.227 million. South Cotabato placed second with 827,200; Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani came into 3rd and 4th with 747,087 and 489,904 respectively. For the cities, General Santos City recorded a 538,086 population ( 13% of Region XII's total population), while Cotabato City had the total population of 271,786.
Poverty incidence or the proportion of families who are poor or are living below the poverty threshold was estimated at about 36 for every 100 households in 2009. The annual poverty threshold or the minimum amount needed by each person in 2006 to be able to buy his basic needs for food, clothing and shelter was estimated at P15, 762.00 per annum.
Employment rate as of July 2011 was estimated at 96.0 percent or 0.2 percentage point higher that the 95.8 percent figure in July 2010. Unemployment rate also increased to 21.5 percent from 18.0 percent in July 2010.
The average inflation rate in November 2011 was estimated at 5.1 percent, reflecting an increase of 0.7 percentage point from November 2010 figure of 4.4 percent.
B. SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Family Health and Immunization
Under family health and immunization, there was an improvement in the percentage of pregnant women or mothers who were given immunization, from 58.0 percent in 2007 to 60.35 percent in 2008.
However, the 2008 figure remained low as it was way below the annual target of 80 percent coverage for fully immunized mothers. For immunization of children (Fully-Immunized Children), the coverage improved from 77.52 percent in 2007 to 79.74 percent in 2008 which has been perceived to have contributed to the improvement in the incidence of infant mortality. The figure on FIC, however, is far below the regional target of 95 percent coverage for immunization of children; hence, the region has to exert more effort to be able to achieve the annual regional target as specified in the updated plan.
Socio-economic- Peace & Development Profile
Infant Mortality Ratio
The infant mortality rate (IMR) or the number of children who died below one year old slightly improved as the incidence decreased from 4.85 in 2007 to 4.61 for every 1,000 live births in 2008.
The increase in the coverage of immunization of children was perceived to have contributed to this improvement.
Maternal Mortality Ratio
There was a slight increase, however, in the number of women who died due to pregnancy or childbirth (maternal mortality rate), from 67.19 in 2007 to 67.92 for every 100,000 live births in 2008.
Similar to the previous years, post-partum hemorrhage remained as the leading cause of maternal deaths in 2008.
Water and Sanitation
The proportion of households with access to safe water has improved, from 85.43 percent in 2007 to 86.99 percent in 2008, posting an increase of 1.56 percentage points. However, there was a slight decrease in the proportion of households with sanitary toilets, from 75.76 percent in 2007 to 74.17 percent in 2008. The accomplishment remained low as it was way below the regional annual target of having 91 percent of households with access to sanitary toilets up to 2010.
For School Year 2007-2008, participation rate in both elementary and secondary schools are quite low. About 72.99 percent of school age children were enrolled in elementary schools and only 39.86 percent were enrolled in secondary schools.
Cohort Survival Rate
Of the total school children who enrolled five years ago, only 51.69 percent were able to reach sixth grade, while in the secondary level, only 56.98 percent have reached the fourth year level as of SY 2007-2008.
The economy of Region XII slightly expanded as it grew from 6.6% in 2006 to 6.7% in 2007. The impressive performance of the Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry (AFF) sector was offset by the decelerated growths posted by the industry and services sectors.
The AFF, the biggest contributor of the region's economy at about 42%, expanded from 6.4% to 7.9%. Higher agricultural and fishery production complemented by good weather and government's agricultural programs buoyed up the sector's favorable performance.
GRDP Growth Rate, 2006 – 2007
In Percent, at constant prices
The industry sector which accounted for 31.4% of the regional economy, decelerated from 8.1% to 7.1%. The decline is due to the slower growth in manufacturing despite gains posted by other sub-sectors such as construction, mining and quarrying and electricity and water.
The services, which comprised 26.6% of the total economic output, slipped down to 4.6% from 5.1% in 2006. Trade and government services inched up while all other subsectors such as transportation, communication and storage (TCS); finance; private services; and ODRE posted decelerated growths.
The cities of Cotabato and General Santos serve as the region's major financial, business, institutional, education and service centers.
Region XII is endowed with rich natural resources and has the potential of becoming one of the fastest growing regional economies in the country. The provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat, as well as, General Santos City (SOCCSKSARGEN), had been provided with modern infrastructure support under SOCCSKSARGEN Area Development Project. The province of Cotabato and neighboring provinces are recipients of the Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project. All these initiatives were meant to support agricultural activities in the region as a major food supplier to domestic and export markets.
The major crops in the region are as follows: Rice, Corn, Coconut, Pineapple, Oil Palm, Coffee, Sugarcane, Banana, Rubber, Asparagus and Mango.
Investments and Exports
The total value of investments generated in the first semester of 2008 amounted to P3.288 Billion, or 63 percent higher than last year's record of P2.015 Billion.
The total export earnings of the region in the third quarter of 2008 was US$136.433 Million. It grew by 22 percent compared with last year's earnings of US$111.781 Million.
The major exports of the region are: Fresh/Canned/Frozen tuna, Other fish products, Fresh/Canned pineapples, Frozen octopus/shrimps, Fresh bananas, Coconut/Crude/ Cochin-type coconut oil, Copra pellets, Cutflowers, Asparagus and Okra, Abaca pulp, Garments, Aquaculture products, Banana Chips, Steel scrap, Gifts and Houseware products.
Tourist arrivals in the region during the first semester of 2008 reached 293,937 visitors. This figure however, is about 8.0 percent lower than the total visitors in the first semester of last year.
D. INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORT
Region XII is endowed with rich natural resources and has the potential of becoming one of the fastest growing regional economies in the country. The provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat, as well as, General Santos City were provided with modern infrastructure support under SOCCSKSARGEN Area Development Project.
The province of North Cotabato and neighboring provinces are recipients of the Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project. All these initiatives were meant to support agricultural activities in the region as a major food supplier to domestic and export markets.
The region has a relatively well-developed transportation system, which is critical in strengthening its ties with other economic growth centers in other parts of the country and the world. It is served by an international airport located in General Santos City and a trunk line airport in Awang,
The port of General Santos City is the biggest seaport of the region, which was categorized as port of entry, and caters to large inter-island vessels for passengers and cargo. It also accommodates international vessels from Singapore, Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia. The region has one sub-port located in Cotabato City and 2 municipal ports located in Kalamansig and Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat Province.
Aside from the transportation network, the region is linked with the rest of the world through modern telecommunications facilities. Major private telephone carriers are serving the region, such as the PLDT, Bayantel, Smart, Globe and Sun Cellular, among others. Cellular sites, as well as, Internet service providers, are generally present in urban centers of the region. However, it is recognized that these services should also reach the rural areas for increased accessibility to centers of economic growth.