Location and Land Area
A landlocked region, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is located in the northern central portion of Luzon. It is bounded on the north by the provinces of Ilocos Norte and Cagayan; on the south by the provinces of Pangasinan and Nueva Vizcaya; on the east by Cagayan Valley; and on the west by the Ilocos Region. It has a total land area of 18,293.70 square kilometers which is about 16% of the total land area of the Philippines.
CAR was created by Executive Order No. 220 signed by former President Corazon C. Aquino on July 15, 1987, otherwise known as the Organic Act of CAR. Originally, the region was composed of the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao, Mt. Province and the City of Baguio. The provinces of Abra, Benguet, Mt. Province and Baguio City were formerly part of the Ilocos Region while Kalinga-Apayao and Ifugao were part of the Cagayan Valley Region.
On February 14, 1995, Republic Act No. 7878 was enacted which bifurcated the province of Kalinga-Apayao into 2 separate provinces - Kalinga and Apayao. With the conversion of the Municipality of Tabuk into a component city on June 23, 2007, there are now 75 municipalities, 2 cities and 1,176 barangays in CAR.
The region is dominated by a mountainous topography, characterized by very steep slopes and high elevation. About 71% of its land area have steep slopes, which constrains cost effective physical development. Infrastructure projects, for example, is 30% more expensive in CAR compared to similar projects in the lowland areas because along the process of incorporating mitigating measures it further aggravates construction costs. Thus, determining the appropriate location of projects is very critical in the face of the region's topography and cost of construction.
More than three-fourths of the region is classified as high elevation (500-2,000 meters above sea level). This gives the region its generally cool climate which nurtures many unique and rare bio-species, and attracts many domestic tourists escaping from the sweltering lowland heat.
Located in a seismo-tectonically active area, and owing to its unique topography, the region is highly prone to geologic hazards such as mass movements, ground subsidence, seismic induced hazards, and flooding. The region is entirely traversed by numerous active fault lines including branches of the Digdig Fault. The July 16, 1990 earthquake caused major damages to private and public properties estimated at PhP 3.7 Billion.
Provincial/City Composition of the Cordillera Administrative Region
The region is composed of six (6) Provinces, one (1) Highly Urbanized City (HUC) and one (1) Component City, namely:
Forestry, Mineral, Water and Energy Resources
The region derives much benefits from its abundant mineral natural resource base. A major wealth is its forest resources, which include an estimated 93.2 million cubic meters in dipterocarp timber and 27.10 million cubic meters of pine timber.
The region, likewise, harbors rich metallic and non-metallic mineral deposits. Some 33,265 hectares are covered by mining claims, of which 27% are presently mined out. For the last 10 years, mining companies in the region have produced some US $1.92 Billion worth of gold, copper and silver. Mining is one of the region's flagship industries and contributes about 21% to the region's economy.
The region's mountainous topography, coupled with its extensive forests, also make it the watershed cradle of Northern Philippines. The headwaters of 9 major rivers emanate from the region and these provide irrigation and energy resources to the Luzon Island of the Philippines.
Only a minor segment of the region's natural energy potentials is currently exploited. The Ambuklao, Magat and Binga Hydro-Electric Plants and a number of mini-hydroelectric plants, mainly located in Bakun, Benguet, supply about 11% of the Luzon Grid's power requirements. The San Roque Multi-Purpose Dam which is said to be the biggest dam in Asia, aside from providing irrigation and serving as a flood control structure, generates 345 megawatts of electricity and 947 GWH hydropower. Meanwhile, the region's geothermal and oil potentials remain unexplored.