Cantilan is located in the middle part of the Surigao countryside in Northeastern Mindanao. Established by the Spaniards in 1782 in the settlement of “Daang Lungsod” with the construction of the “Cota” better known as Baluarte de Señor San Miguel, it stands out with its rich cultural heritage and abundant natural wonders – unspoiled beaches of gray and white sand, scenic islands and islets, farmlands, lush vegetation and forest areas filled with rare plants and animals.
Early colonization by the Spaniards is evidenced by the structure of buildings and homes of most of its town’s folk. These houses, some over a hundred years old, had been preserved to keep its original structures up to this time.
According to legend, the word Cantilan originated from the big shell of a bi-valve locally called Telang. A couple with beautiful daughters lived close to the location of the big shell. When their suitors came to visit the daughters, they were usually asked along the way where they were headed for, and would answer, Can Tilang! (meaning to Tilangs). Eventually, Cantilang became Cantilan.
Cantilan is the cradle of the towns of Carrascal, Madrid, Carmen, and Lanuza, collectively known as CARCANMADCARLAN, all of which are located in the 1st district of Surigao del Sur. It takes three hours to reach the place from Surigao City and one hour away from Tandag City.
Present day Cantilan is aptly described as a rural town with the conveniences of modern living and technology.
From this town rose the CANTILAN BANK, INC., a rural bank established and envisioned to provide the Cantilangnons access to financial services and promote countryside development.
Cantilan: the least poor area in Caraga
In August 2012, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) published the 2009 poverty statistics at the municipal and city levels. Why is it important for us here in Cantilan Bank to know this? These poverty statistics are very useful tools in planning our financial inclusion efforts and achieving our mission.
Just to refresh your memories, our mission here in CBI is to deliver excellent banking and countryside development services to clients. Furthermore, one of the five objectives of CBI is to achieve the social and environmental bottomlines. This means that we can only call ourselves successful community bankers if we achieve the social bottomline and the only way we can do this is if we are able to reach the financially underserved and unserved through the delivery of financial education and other financial services.
Now, what exactly does this have to do with statistics, you might ask?
If you’re a professional athlete, how do you know that your performance has improved or deteriorated? If you’re a swimmer, how do you know if you were faster than the other guy? If you’re a basketball player, how do you know your team beat the other team? And, if you’re a tennis player, and you know you have to go up against Roger Federer in the next few months in the French Cup, how would you adjust your training for your serve and forehand?
Measuring numbers and statistics and correctly understanding them and applying them is key to improving your performance in any field, be it sports or business.
Cantilan and Cantilan Bank
In our case, we can measure our success in terms of achieving our objectives and overall mission if we look at certain Key Result Areas (KRAs) and performance indicators. Simply put, if part of our mission is to help our community develop, then we obviously need to measure the level of progress our community has achieved over the years. One KRA we can look at to measure the development and progress of any community is the level of poverty incidence.
Let’s take a closer look at Cantilan’s statistics. Did you know that Cantilan had a population of about 30,000 individuals and about 6,900 households in 2011? Of the 6,900 households, only 896 were engaged in non-farming and nonfishing related industries. This means that, as of one year ago, 87% of the households in Cantilan depended on farming and fishing as a source of income and a means of livelihood.
What’s astonishing though are Cantilan’s levels of poverty incidence in 2003 and 2009. In 2003, 43% of Cantilan’s population lived below the poverty line. Another way of putting it is that, nine years ago, close to half of Cantilan’s population had net incomes of less than P14,000 in a year!
In the 2009 national poverty statistics, however, Cantilan was shown as the least poor area in the entire Caraga region, with only 25% of its population considered as poor. This means that Cantilan’s poverty incidence was cut almost in half in just six years! This is incredible!
As of 2009 data, only one quarter of Cantilan’s population is earning less than P14,000 in a year. To put things on a national perspective, our 25% poverty incidence is better than the national average. Also, according to the NSCB 2009 statistics, Cantilan is less poor than all the other municipalities AND cities combined in the whole of Caraga!
Do you think slashing poverty rates almost in half over six years is development? You bet! Do you think being categorized as the least poor area in an entire region, compared to other cities which are supposed to be more developed than small rural towns, is equal to progress? Definitely!
Of course, we cannot take full credit for the success of our community but, it surely sounds like a reasonable argument if you say that CBI has played an integral role in Cantilan’s development and growth. To back that statement up, here are a few facts to consider: as the largest, professional employer in town, CBI has provided quality jobs, harnessed and developed local talent, and it has also become the largest taxpayer and source of revenue for the town.
More importantly, through the hard work and dedication of all its employees, CBI has created a sustainable and highly productive professional industry in a rural town in Eastern Mindanao where agriculture is the primary industry.
Furthermore, CBI has successfully engaged in microfinance since 1999, extending credit to many micro-entrepreneurs and conducting financial literacy workshops and seminars along the way.
Now that we know that Cantilan’s poverty incidence dropped from 43% to 25%, we need to find out exactly how Cantilan Bank figured in this development with respect to our microfinance and financial inclusion activities.
Unfortunately, to answer this question, we need to do a lot of research and analysis, both of which require lots of investment in time and resources.
Luckily though, through partner research institutions, CBI can have a clearer picture as to how our microfinance and financial inclusion activities has affected the levels of poverty in all the communities where we work. Before the end of 2013, we can all look forward to seeing how we performed in this Key Result Area so that we know how much improvement we need to achieve in the next few years.
This may seem like a daunting task to some of us, but that’s what sets us apart from our competitors -- we here at CBI know and truly believe that we can only be as successful as our community is. And, our mission is a commitment that our community can bank on.
For questions and suggestions, email Tanya at firstname.lastname@example.org.