By Ben Serrano,
BUTUAN City — As people seek greener pastures that cause outmigration, this city registered a significant decline of population over the years, government statisticians said.
Officials of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) bared that the reasons for the massive outmigration are economics, survival, and opportunities.
In a forum on Tuesday, the PSA in Caraga Regional Data Dissemination in the 2015 Census of Population, participants discovered that among six cities in Caraga Region, Bislig City registered a significant negative growth of population of nearly 10% from its 1990 census of 103,510 to the present 94,235.
“As we all know this is caused by the shutting down of a major industry like Picop (Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines) in Bislig City but any (local government) could have provided alternative livelihood opportunities to entice back once fleeing residents,” PSA Caraga regional director Rosalinda Celeste Apura said.
In an interview, PSA Caraga regional office Chief Statistical Specialist Melchor Bautista said Bislig City is the only city in the entire region to show negative population growth.
On Oct. 31, 2001, Picop, once the biggest paper pulp maker in Asia shut its operation down causing some 3,000 direct employees and 5,000 workers indirectly involved in its wood, pulp mill, and allied operations jobless.
Picop used to operate its pulp and paper mill and wood plantation in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur.
It was reported that Picop’s closure was it became a casualty in a growing list of corporate closures caused by the flood of lower-priced imports like paper products from China and India then. (Ben Serrano)