Chapter IV



2.4.1   Purpose and Background

This Situational Analysis provides a comprehensive review of the current state of the environment of Zamboanga City. The findings drawn from this analysis will be carried forward to the plan Formulation phase of the project and serve as among the bases in the drafting of an Environmental Management strategy for the city


2.4.2    Study Elements and Limitations

The Study covered the different ecological components and elements of Zamboanga City as outlined in the lnception Report. These elements include the following:

Terrestrial environment which covers the topics on: geography; geology and geomorphology; topography, slope and elevation; land classification and regulatory status; land use and vegetative cover; mineral resources and reserves.

Water resources which describes drainage, tributary patterns and catchments areas; location and extensive of surface freshwater resources; general groundwater information; water use and regulation, surface water/stream conditions; and watershed importance.

Atmosphere, which deals with rainfall, relative humidity, evapo-transportation, cloudiness and wind speed.

Coastal and marine ecology focusing on mangroves, coral reefs, sea grass, agriculture resources, tidal fluctuations and other terrestrial and aquatic flora and fauna existing in the area.

Urban environment with emphasis on solid and liquid waste disposal and management, air and noise pollution, competing land uses, locating cemeteries and burial grounds, slums and squatters and overall ambiance of the urban environment.


Environmentally critical areas, which provide spatial definition of the portions of the ecosystem that, are considered ecologically sensitive.

In the course of the study, materials and documents gathered and disseminated by concerned governments as well as academic and private institutions were used as the main reference and source of secondary information for the ecological characterization of Zamboanga City. Field visits were likewise undertaken to validate and update some of these secondary information.

Because of the limited time frame for the study, information which might have been useful but were either not readily available (a survey would have to be conducted to generate the information) or to which there was limited public access have not been included in the report.


2.4.3   Structure of the Report

The report is divided into three major sections:

Emerging Issues and Concerns – which need to be addressed in the formulation of the Environmental management Strategy.

The Policy Context – which describes the ENR policies, rules and regulations that largely, govern developmental ENR-related activities and undertakings

City Ecological Profile – which provide detailed description of the various elements of the ecosystem. This portion of the airport is further divided into six (6) subsections as follows:

Terrestrial environment

Water resources


Coastal and marine ecology

Urban environment

Environmentally critical areas

ENR programs and projects  -provides a summary of on-going projects in the ENR sector.

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) – presents a SWOT analysis for the environment sector.


2.4.4    Emerging Issues and Concerns

This section examines the key issues and concerns, which need to be addresses in the formulation of the Environmental management Strategy for Zamboanga City. The issues discussed were drawn from the recent constitution held in Zamboanga City and appraisal of the existing environmental conditions of the city. It also includes questions that would provide focus in the conduct of environmental studies by the consultant team.

Forest/Watershed Degradation

Foremost of the concerns aired by concerned sector is the problem of forest degradation and the need to protect the seven identified watershed areas. It should be noted that out of the identified seven watersheds, the Presidential Proclamation, that is, the Pasonanca Watershed Reservation, so far covers only one. The rest of the identified watersheds are still for proclamation.

As of June 1997 the documents pertinent to the following watersheds are still in the various stages of completion. Apparently, there are still a number of prerequisite activities that have to be undertaken before the completion of the necessary documents for their proclamation as reservations.

Some of the questions that need to be addressed are:

If these areas were to be proclaimed as watersheds, what would be the most appropriate land use allocation for the same to attain the conservation and development objectives?

What are the strategies necessary to ensure the attainment of these objectives?

What will be the policies regarding the occupants and settlements in these areas?

If these occupants were to be allowed, what would be the appropriate tenurial arrangements to allow such occupancy?

Will the current institutional arrangements for the environmental management be responsive towards the realization of the plan objectives; are there institutional inadequacies that need to be addressed?


                                Competing Land Use within the ECOZONE

The proclamation of a total of 54 hectares in San Ramon, Zamboanga City as part of the Zamboanga City Special and Free Port Zone has brought about problems on conflicting land uses. The creation of an ECOZONE is perceived by some as the start of land conversion owing to the fact that the medium and small industries are likely to

locate in the said area. Accordingly, there are fears that the existing land uses, such as prime agricultural uses, will be converted into other land uses, given the situation.


As such, the following questions should be addressed:

What environmental safeguards will be necessary to ensure that the utilization of the land and other resources will be environmentally sustainable?

What will be the environmental; implications of the ECOZONE on the surrounding areas and communities?


River Protection and Rehabilitation

A host of environment-specific problems were also identified. One of them is on the need for a river rehabilitation and protection program. The current state of the river systems in the city reflects the lack of comprehensive river pollution due to the dumping of solid and liquid waste into the rivers. The increase in population especially in urban areas has further aggravated this problem.

Thus, the following questions emerged:

Are the rivers classified according to their uses?

Is there a need to further improve the quality of the rivers, vis-ΰ-vis, and classification?

What rehabilitation measures should be developed and implemented to attain the desired classification of the rivers.


Solid and Liquid Waste Disposal

The lack of proper disposal sites for solid waste and the indiscriminate dumping of industrial waste have led to the degradation of some of the major rivers of Zamboanga City. In addition, there is the absence of treatment facilities for both industrial and hospital wastes. Also, the existing sewerage system of the city is inadequate to meet and pass the DENR effluent/water quality standards specifically in the urban area. At. The same time, there is a growing need to formulate a comprehensive solid waste management program for Zamboanga City. For instance, constructing landfill for solid waste.

For solid waste disposal related issues, the questions that need to be addressed are:

How efficient is the present garbage collection system?

How about the transport and/or transfer of the garbage?

Is the system responsive to the projected levels of waste generation?

How should the overall solid waste management plan be formulated and implemented?

In terms of capacity, how do we assess the current dumpsite in Barangay Lumbangan?

Would it be able to handle projected waste generation?

What are the alternatives?

On the other hand, there is also a need to address the following questions in the handling of liquid waste-related issues:

How is the industrial wastewater being handled at present?

How about future industries?

How are hazardous wastes being handled?


Air Pollution

The presence and proliferation of industries, such as plastic factories, band saw mills for coconut wood and fish drying, within the city along with the increasing volume of motorized vehicles have started to generate air pollution problems. Thus, there is a need to enforce anti-smoke belching programs, regulate the establishment of industries in

Residential/populated areas, and strictly implement pollution laws, specifically those on air pollution. Constant monitoring of the air pollution level is necessary to keep track of the air pollution levels in the city.

The question that should be addresses is:

How are the present system/standards being handled?

Are there improvements needed?


Sand and Gravel Extraction

Another concern that was identified is the prevalence and uncontrolled sand and gravel extraction. This is evident in the coastal areas of San Ramon as well as in the Ayala District wherein operators indiscriminately quarry for sand and gravel.

With this, the questions that must be addressed are:

Should sand and gravel extraction be allowed to continue, especially along rivers?

If so, what environmental resources should be instituted to mitigate its impacts?

Coastal Resources

Decline of Marine Resources

The state of fishery resources in most areas of the City is already appr5oaching a critical depletion level because of a poor fishery development program, as well as illegal fishing activity. Environmental damage through destruction of important fish habitat, quarrying, intensification of fishpond culture, development of mangrove swamps into aquaculture site that require chemicals for production have threatened the coastal areas. The reefs and sea grasses accounted for amount only a few. Worse, the occurrence of endangered marine species and other organism found in the area have reached alarming level.

The major question that should be tackled is:

What is the most appropriate resources allocation strategy for coastal areas?


Water Supply

Zamboanga City relies heavily on surface water from Tumaga River for its water supply. Currently, the ZCWD is servicing only 48% of the total population. Of the total water production, 38% is unaccounted water. Given the projected population and the fact that the city is a highly urbanizing one, it is likely that future water requirements will not be satisfied unless other sources such as rivers and springs be tapped to augment water supply sources.

The pertinent questions to the water supply are:

What are the alternative sources of water for domestic/industrial/commercial supply?

What will be suitable water use allocation scheme in the future?

How will potable water supply be insured?


Inferior Water Quality

As of the 2nd Quarter of 1997, water quality in Major River systems including its tributaries are generally inferior. BOD and TSS values Manicahan, Cabaulay, and Mercedes Rivers barely met the DEBNR water and effluent quality standards. Should this trend continue and with the pressures brought about by population increases and indiscriminate disposal of waste into waterways and absence of a sewerage system, it is expected that the quality of water will deteriorate

The primary question that needs to be addressed is:

What measures are being instituted to address the enforcement of water/effluent quality standards?


Non-creation of ENRO

It should be noted that while the creation of the Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO) is optional as provided for in the Local Government Code, the Zamboanga City has not created as separate office to handle matters pertinent to the environment and natural resources. At present, this particular office is a part of the office of the City Agriculturist.

Considering that the Zamboanga is a highly urbanizing city and in view of the various environment problems and concerns identified, there is a need to create and operationalize the ENRO to handle issues and concerns related to natural resources and the environment.

Relative to this, the major question is:

What are the necessary institutional measures to strengthen environmental management capabilities of the local government?


4.5              2.4.5   Policy Context

The environmental Management Strategy for Zamboanga City would be formulated within the framework of current policy initiatives in the environment and natural resources sector. The existing national policies, which are deemed to have local implementations and are relevant to the tasks at hand, are as follows:

Republic Act 7586 – An Act providing for the establishment and management of national integrated protected areas system, defining its scope and coverage and for other purposes.

Proclamation No. 803 – declaring the construction, development and operation of a golf course as an environmentally critical project pursuant to PD 1596

PD 1586 – Establishing and Environmental Impact Statement System including other environmental management related measures.

Proclamation No. 2146 – proclaiming certain areas and types of projects as environmentally critical within the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement System under PD 1586

PD 705 – Forestry Code of the Philippines

RA 7942 – Phil. Mining Act of 1995.

DENR AO 58-91 – Guidelines regulating the implementation and management of DENR CARP activities.

DENR AO 3-91 – Policy guidelines for the award and administration of mangrove stewardship contracts.

DENR AO No. 24-91 – Shift in logging from the old growth forests to the second growth residual forests.

DENR AO 42-91 – Revised regulations and guidelines governing the establishment and development of industrial forest plantations.

MC 14-91 – Identification and demarcation of old growth forests

MO 8 dated 04 July 1991 – Prescribing the guidelines in the implementation of DENR AO 24-91.

DENR AO 8-91 – Guidelines in the issuance of environmental compliance certificate or environmental clearance for the conversion of agricultural lands to non-agricultural uses.

DENR AO 34-91 – Guidelines for the issuance of environmental compliance certificate for fishpond development.

MC 12 dated 10 Sept. 1991 – Policy and issuance of licenses, leases and permits covering islands with areas less than 50,000 hectares..

DENR AO 13-92 – Regulations governing the establishment of buffer zones within forest lands.

DENR AO 37-96 – Revising DENR AO 21-92 to further strengthen the implementation of EIS System.

Republic Act 7160 – Local Government Code.

DENR Manual Operations for devolved functions


            2.4.6   City Ecological Profile

         Terrestrial Environment


Zamboanga City is located in the southernmost tip of Zamboanga Peninsula and about 850 kilometers south of Manila. It is approximately within the geographical coordinated 121°53’50” and 122°23’25” east longitude and 6°53’50” and 7°29’20” north latitude. It is bounded on the west by the Sulu Sea, on the east by the Moro Gulf, and on the south by the Basilan Strait and Celebes Sea.

Geology and Geomorphology

The southwest and eastern sides of Zamboanga City are bounded by irregular coastlines with generally rocky terrain with occasional stretches of sandy and gravely beaches. The coastal profile usually descends abruptly towards the sea. In some places where there are rivers, embayment occurs, thus, filling up areas with alluvial materials and producing small tracts of coastal plains and sometimes-broad plains.


It has been observed that younger rock formation occurs in a higher elevation. Areas along the northeastern coast, which were mostly part of the lower alluvial lowlands, and small low lying areas are characterized by the presence of cold water sediments. These are subjected to the daily inundation of tidal movement.


The formation of basement complex along the boundaries of Zamboanga del Norte is influenced by the north-south trending fault while a young volcanic cone influences the formation of volcanic outcropping in the area.1 (See Map IV-1 for the Geologic Map of the area.

Topography, Slope and Elevation

The overall topography of the city could be described as rolling to very steep. There are some flat lands, mostly narrow strips along the east coast. The urban center is mostly flat with a gentle slope to the interior, ranging from 0 to 3%. The highest registered elevation is 1,200 meters. (See Map IV-2 for the Topographic Map)

In terms of slope, a large portion of Zamboanga City, about 38,000 hectares, have slopes ranging from 18-30%. Another 26,000 hectares have been described as having slopes pf less than 3% while about 37% of the area or a total of 52,000 hectares have slopes ranging from 30% to more than 50% (see Map IV-3).

Geological Map






Topographic Map




Slope Map




Landform Classification

The BSWM identified seven (7) broad landform types in Zamboanga City (see map IV-4) which are briefly discussed below.


Coastal Landscape

These are along the Northeaster Coast of Zamboanga City. The areas are mostly of lower alluvial lowlands and small low-lying areas along the coastline usually subject to daily inundation. Soils are very young with no soil profile development due to active deposition that is still taking place. Soil texture is clay to Silty clay and very deep. The area is flat to nearly flat with a slope range of 0-3% with and elevation range 0-5 meters.


Broad Alluvial Plain

These areas comprise the valley floors and flood plains of the City. Soils were mainly formed by the deposition and accumulation of unsorted and unconsolidated sand. Silt. Clay, pebbles of angular to rounded Size fragment and sometimes boulders of different composition. The areas have deep to very deep soil and clayish texture. Elevation is between 5- 10 meters and a slope range of 0-3%.


Minor Alluvial Plain

These areas have similar characteristics with the broad plain but tend to have higher physiographic position and narrower extent; they consist of alluvial sediments coming from surrounding areas. Soils are Silty loam to clay loam and are moderately deep to deep Elevation is between 80-160 meters and slope ranges from 0-3%.



Plains consist of low-lying areas with fine sediments mixed with Classic materials. Soils are Silty clay loam and are moderately deep. The highest elevation is 10 meters and slopes of between 0-3%.



Occupying a large segment of Zamboanga City. Hills include areas with a crest below 500 meters above sea level. These areas are formed from sedimentary rock formation and with soils that are clay to loam and are moderately deep-to-deep.



These are areas occurring on elevation not less than 500 meters above sea level and slopes ranging between 18-50 %. Soil texture is clay and with moderate depth. Erosion and landslides are prevalent in these areas.



Miscellaneous landforms include the urban areas and salt beds.







Land Form Classification Map







The soils of Zamboanga City can be categorized into three groups: the residual soil embracing the undulating and mountainous portion; the alluvial soil located in level to nearly level areas, which are devoted mainly to agricultural crop cultivation and; the swamps land utilized mainly for fishpond development. Generally, the lowlands possessed clay type of soil with the alluvial plains and river terraces having medium to fine texture soils. The upland areas have soil texture ranging from medium to coarse with the parent material characterized as pyroclastic sandstone basalt and andesite (see Map IV-5).


Soil Erosio

As reflected in the soil erosion map (see Map IV-6), the city of Zamboanga is experiencing varying degrees of soil erosion. Of the total land area, some 28,000 hectares or 20% are experienced no apparent erosion. On the other hand, 32,000 hectares or 22% are categorized as slightly eroded; another 38,000 hectares or 27% are moderately eroded while 40,000 hectares or 28% are severely eroded. Some 3,000 hectares are under unclassified erosion. So far, the severely eroded areas are located within the steep and very steep areas. This reflects he denudation of most of the areas identified as watershed reservations.


Land Classification and Regulatory Statu

Table IV-1 shows the land classification and regulatory status of Zamboanga City. Of the total land area of 142, 090 hectares, 82,700 hectares or 48% of them are classified as A and D areas, that is, areas being released for private ownership. Forestlands covers a total of 59,300 hectares or 42% of the land area. Under forestlands are established forest reserves, timberland, national parks, mangrove areas and fishpond as well as military and civil reservations (see Map IV-7).


Table IV-1.   Land Classification and Regulatory Status


Area (ha)



Alienable & Disposable





Source: The Zamboanga City Profile, 1997


General Land Use and Vegetative Cove

As shown in Table IV-2, land use in Zamboanga City can be classified as follows: agricultural, forest, mangrove and fishponds, industrial and commercial, residential and institutional. Of the total land area of the city, 77,813 hectares are used for agricultural purposes; 58,384 hectares are forestlands; 891 hectares are devoted to commercial and industrial activities while some 2,046 hectares are for residential uses. A total of 2,486 hectares are devoted for institutional uses while about 963 hectares are mangroves and fishponds (see Map IV-8).




Soil Map






Erosion map







Land Classification and Legal Status Map






Existing General Land Use Map





Table IV-2.   General Land Use


Area (ha)



Forest Land













Source: Zamboanga City Profile, 1997

Table IV-3 shows the vegetative cover of Zamboanga City. Accordingly, agricultural crops cover a total of 77,318 hectares; another 47,824 hectares are considered woodland comprised of plantation, residuals and some old growth forest. Some 1,183 hectares are wetlands while a total of 13,268 are grassland and/or shrub land. The remaining 2,496 hectares are under miscellaneous vegetation.


Table IV-3.   Existing Vegetative Cover


Area (ha)





Grassland/ shrub land









Source: Zamboanga City Profile, 1997


Forest Resources

Of the total forestland of Zamboanga City, some 539 hectares are mossy forest. Another 1,800 hectares are old growth forest while a total of 27,522 hectares are second growth forest. Brush land covers some 726 hectares and 4,809 hectares of mangrove forests.2


Mineral Resources and Reserves

Zamboanga City and its vicinity are rich in metallic minerals such as gold, copper, lead and zinc as well as non-metallic minerals such as clay, cement, sand and gravel. This is evidenced by the presence of various claims and small-scale mining operations 

Gold is found to be abundant in Upper Bunguiao as well as in Curuan. Mineralization consists of placer gold along creeks and rivers draining area. Gold panning is presently concentrated in the hinterlands of Manicahan River.

The Curuan placer appears to have been restricted to the river channel in the upper section of the main Curuan River but fans out into a wide valley flat along its lower course. Mettalic minerals like copper, zinc and lead were found to in the southwestern most portion of Zamboanga Peninsula namely Ayala district as well as in Labuan. Mahayag and Dumingag and also in Roxas and Katipunan. Basement schists, turbitites, volcanics and molasses underlie these areas.

The city is also rich in non-metallic minerals and rocks such as clay, cement, sand and gravel. Most of the white clay deposits resulted from the alteration of the alkali feldspar and micas of volcanics and pyroclastics. They range in color from white to grayish white to buff and are interlayed with individual layers ranging from a few millimeters to a meter or more in thickness. This clay is ideal for the manufacture of ceramics and low grad

Refractories. These are found in Upper Bunguiao, Culianan and Tagasilay, Zamboanga City.

Most of the red clay deposits being worked out in Pasonanca, Mulu-muluan, Lumayao, Cabaulay, Manicahan, Ayala, La Paz, and Sapa Manok, all within Zamboanga City. This red clay serves as raw materials for brick and pottery manufacturing.


Natural Disasters

The occurrence of natural disasters in Zamboanga City is confined to seasonal flooding, drought and earthquake. Seasonal flooding is caused by the accumulation of rainfall run-off from rivers and creeks and usually lasts for one week annually. Among the flood-prone Barangays of Zamboanga City are : Mercedes, Taluksangay, Talon-Talon, Mariki, Rio Hondo, Dumagsa, Talisayan, San Ramon, Patalon, Daap in Sangali and Vitali. These are coastal barangays as well as those located along major rivers and creeks.

The drought-prone areas are those with rainfall less than 75 mm and an average dry month mean temperature of greater than or equal to 28 degrees Centigrade. Drought-prone areas include the following: Sinunuc, Cawit, Labuan, Sangali, Bolong, Panubigan, Curuan, Basagan, Betong, Buenavista, Tictapul and Tigbungabung.

Frequent sometimes stron earthwuake shake Zamboanga City because of the city’s proximity to Cotabato Trench. At times, these earthquakes result in tsunamis.3  Identified to be tsunami-prone areas are the coastal areas in the eastern part of the province where earthquakes of tectonic origin are observed to occur (see Map IV-9). Thus, Zamboanga City, and the entire province for that matter, is considered susceptible to tsunamis. As per record, one of the strongest tsunamis that ever hit the Philippines happened in the southwestern part of Zamboanga on August 16, 1976 with a towering height ranging from 5 to 10 meters.4


Terrestrial Flora

The whole of Zamboanga del Sur including the city of Zamboanga and its vicinities has a total of 172 floral species belonging to some 56-plant families. Major plant families that could be found in abundance within the city include those of the family Dipterocarpaceae, Meliaceae, Moraceae, Euphorbiaceae, Lauraceae, Sapotaceae, Guttiferae, Sapindaceae and Mythaceae.5


Terrestrial Fauna

Birds found in Zamboanga could be grouped into endemic, resident, migrant, prohibited and regulated species. There are about 164 endemic species belonging to 15 orders and 43 families; there are also 71 resident bird species belonging to 12 orders and 35 families along with 65 migrant bird species of 10 orders and 21 families and 37 bird species that are strictly regulated. Finally, there is the Falco Peregrinus, which is classified as a prohibited species.

Under mammals, there exist 30 mammal species which belonging to 15 families and 4 species of reptiles belonging to 3 families.







Search WWW Search