Endowed with rich natural and human resources, the Province of Zamboanga Sibugay stands fairly well with other provinces in terms of opportunities for growth and development. This distinction, notwithstanding it being a new province, can be gleaned by the fact that out of its sixteen [16] municipalities, thirteen are coastal covering 113 barangays that are spread along a 210 kilometers of shoreline. Fronting these shorelines are six [6] marine bays considered by marine experts as one of the richest fishing grounds in the country. Agar-agar farms have also found its place along these water bodies and have become one of leading sources of alternative income among residents and marginal fishermen. Data shows that seaweeds farming is capable of generating at the very least 2 Million metric tons of produce annually.

Moreover, about 26,000 hectares of fishpond areas have equally contributed to the strengthening of the province’s aqua-marine industry; thereby, gaining respect as a force to reckon with in the domestic export market. Going upland, there is a vast expanse of fertile lands sprawling evenly along its contour with rubber, rice, corn and coconut as its major crops. Other high value commercial crops like mango, banana, calamansi, lanzones and rambutan are also widely grown in hundreds of hectares in the province. Fifty-nine percent of the total land area of 322,830 has. is devoted to agriculture. This explains why the province of Zamboanga Sibugay is seen also as a food basket in Zamboanga Peninsula.

The economy of the province is largely dependent on the ability of its people to adopt to new challenges in improving agricultural production and management skills and set in place infrastructure support system to facilitate the accessibility of raw materials, manpower and product. One of the areas where province has gainfully attained midway to its completion is the concreting of the national highway from boundary to boundary with Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga City, respectively. Ports are available in many coastal municipalities. The Ipil airport has been earmarked for expansion to accommodate a larger volume of air traffic. Our communication facilities are of standard nationwide. Advocacies on local government management, eco-governance and agricultural productivity have been frequently taking place to educate and ensure efficiency among all stakeholders in the development process.

Given those factors in the entire equation of development, the Province of Zamboanga Sibugay has slowly emerged as an investment target for big players in business industry. The latest report of the Department of Trade and Industry for CY 2002 shows total investments generated on rubber, seaweeds and other marine products alone totaled to PhP 23,987 Million, employing a labor force of 1,599 and generating sales of PhP 27.826 Million. Furthermore, Region IX of which Zamboanga Sibugay is a vital part regained its negative economic performance in 2001 to a 5.4 percent growth in 2002 [source: National Statistic Coordination Board]. This positive upturn in its rating can be attributed to the following: 1] increased production of palay, livestock and fishery, 2] increased in construction and production of non-metallic products particularly pebbles and filling materials, 3] accelerated growth in services like transportation, communication and storage. As a result of these, Per Capita Gross Regional Domestic Product posted at PhP 8,738.00, which is still lower than the national average of PhP 13,006.00. However, by and large, it still shows a positive indication that the region’s economic priorities are on the right track.