Zamboanga Peninsula

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This article is about the administrative region. For the geographical region, see Zamboanga Peninsula (geographical region).
Region IX
Zamboanga Peninsula
Western Mindanao
Map of the Philippines showing the location of Region IX
Map of the Philippines showing the location of Region IX
Country Philippines
Island group Mindanao
Regional center Pagadian
 • Total 16,823 km2 (6,495 sq mi)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 3,407,353
 • Density 200/km2 (520/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ISO 3166 code PH-09
Provinces 3
Cities 5
Municipalities 67
Barangays 1,904
Cong. districts 8
Languages Cebuano, Zamboangueño Chavacano, Subanon, Tausog, others

Zamboanga Peninsula (Filipino: Tangway ng Kasambuwangaan) is a peninsula and an administrative region in the Philippines, designated as Region IX. The region consists of three provinces, namely: Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay, its component cities of Dipolog, Dapitan, Pagadian, and Isabela and the highly urbanized city of Zamboanga. The region was previously known as Western Mindanao before the enactment of Executive Order No. 36 on September 19, 2001. Pagadian City is the regional center .


The region is located on the eponymous Zamboanga Peninsula on Mindanao, that lies between the Moro Gulf (part of the Celebes Sea) and the Sulu Sea. Along the shores of the peninsula are numerous bays and islands. The peninsula is connected to the rest of Mindanao through an isthmus situated between Panguil Bay and Pagadian Bay. Its territory consists of the three Zamboanga provinces and the city of Zamboanga, and the boundary between the peninsula and mainland is artificially marked by the border between the provinces of Zamboanga del Sur and Lanao del Norte.


The region has vast forest resources and previously used to export logs, lumber, veneer and plywood. Mineral deposits include gold, chromite, coal, iron, lead, and manganese. Among its non-metallic reserves are coal, silica, salt, marble, silica sand, and gravel. Its fishing grounds are devoted to commercial and municipal fishing. It has also aqua farms for brackish water and freshwater fishes.


Province of Zamboanga[edit]

After the United States annexed the Spanish East Indies in 1898, the Peninsula hosted a briefly independent state called the Republic of Zamboanga. It was incorporated by the Insular Government into the Moro Province, which consisted of the Central and Western parts of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. The name and status of Moro Province were changed to the Department of Mindanao and Sulu on August 16, 1916, causing Zamboanga to become a separate province.

In 1942, the Zamboanga Peninsula along with the rest of the Philippine Islands was annexed by the Empire of Japan at the beginning of the Second World War. The Peninsula was later liberated in 1945 by joint American and Philippine Commonwealth forces fighting against the Imperial Japanese Army.

On 6 June 1952, the province was partitioned into Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur, while the chartered city of Zamboanga became an independent, extraprovincial unit.


Together with the Sulu Archipelago, the provinces that formerly made up Zamboanga Province were re-organised into Region IX by order of Presidential Decree No. 1 [1] as part of the Integrated Reorganization Plan of President Ferdinand Marcos, that was signed in September 24, 1972.

From 1975 to 1989, the old Region IX (Western Mindanao) was further divided into two sub-regions by Presidential Decree No. 773 [2] dated August 21, 1975. Sub-Region IX-A is to be consisted of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi with Jolo, Sulu as the sub-regional centre, while Sub-Region IX-B consisted of the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur, with the chartered city of Zamboanga as the sub-regional centre.


In 2001, Zamboanga Sibugay, was created from the province of Zamboanga del Sur with Ipil as the seat of government with the virtue of Republic Act No. 8973.

In the same year, the residents of Basilan opted to join the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in a plebiscite. However, the citizens of the capital, Isabela City, did not want to join so the city remained a part of this region as a result of Executive Order No. 36.

In 2004, Pagadian City officially became the Regional Center for Region IX- Zamboanga Peninsula, despite opposition from Zamboanga City, the former Regional Center.

Regional center issue[edit]

Executive Order (EO) 429 was issued in 1990 by President Corazon Aquino which provided for the reorganization of the administrative regions in Mindanao. It declared that Western Mindanao would comprise Zamboanga City, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Basilan, and the cities comprising those provinces. It also declared that Pagadian City shall serve as the new regional center.[2]

However, President Fidel Ramos issued EO 325 in 1996 which reorganized the Regional Development Councils (RDCs). The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of EO 325 declared Zamboanga City as the regional center in Western Mindanao.[3]

In 2001, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed EO 36 which reorganized and renamed Western Mindanao to Zamboanga Peninsula. It was silent on the issue of regional government centers.[3][4] Memorandum Circular No. 75, signed in 2004 by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, directed the transfer of regional offices from Zamboanga City to Pagadian citing EO 429 as its legal basis.[5]

A moratorium on the transfer under Memorandum Circular No. 11 was issued on December 22, 2010 citing the high economic and social costs that the employees were experiencing in maintaining two residences and in fully transferring to Pagadian. It further directed all regional offices that are already in Pagadian to continue their operations.[6]

On March 3, 2011, the Regional Development Council IX endorsed Zamboanga as the regional center of Zamboanga Peninsula.[7][8]

National Economic and Development Authority Regional Director Arturo Valero stated that “even if Zamboanga City is not the regional center, the city will still grow” and that the city should better focus on being a commercial and industrial center.[9]


Population census of Zamboanga Peninsula
Year Pop.   ±% p.a.  
1990 2,281,064 —    
2000 2,831,412 +2.18%
2010 3,407,353 +1.87%
Source: National Statistics Office[1]

Political divisions[edit]

Political map of Zamboanga Peninsula
Province/City Capital Population
Pop. density
(per km²)
Zamboanga del Norte Dipolog 957,997 7,301.0 131.2
Zamboanga del Sur Pagadian 959,685 4,499.5 213.2
Zamboanga Sibugay Ipil 584,685 3,607.8 162
Zamboanga 807,129 1,483.4 544.1
Isabela¹ 97,857 140.7 695.5

Component cities[edit]

Isabela City is a component city and capital of the province of Basilan. Isabela City continues be under the jurisdiction of Basilan for the administration of provincially-devolved services and functions. But for the administration of regional services, the city is part of the Zamboanga Peninsula Region despite the rest of Basilan being under the authority of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Isabela was the southernmost outpost of the Spanish in the Philippines until the fall of Jolo in 1878. Having hosted Catholic residents since 1637, and a Spanish Fort (destroyed in World War II) since 1848, it was likewise the primary naval base of the Spanish in Mindanao until 1899. Named after Queen Isabella II, the city is the southernmost predominantly Christian enclave of the Philippines, and servesi as an entry point for trade and commerce of Basilan island.[citation needed]

Dapitan is also known as the "Shrine City in the Philippines" because the place where Jose Rizal, the National Hero, was exiled.[citation needed] It is also known for the old St. James Parish and the beach resort of Dakak.

Dipolog is known for their orchids, thus called "Orchid city of south" or "Orchid City" because of the abundant wild Dipolog orchids. They have their nature spots and historical spots, such as Dipolog Cathedral, Dipolog Boulevard, Cogon Park, Japanese Park, Magsaysay Park, the Sungkilaw Falls, And the 3000 steps to Linabo Peak. It is the capital province of Zamboanga del norte or Zanorte.

Pagadian is also known as the "Little Hong Kong of the South" because of its topographical feature that is reminiscent of Hong Kong. It also has an affluent Chinese community that officially celebrates the Chinese Lunar New Year.[10]

Zamboanga is the only highly urbanized city in the region. The city is the lone member of BIMP-EAGA in the Zamboanga Peninsula.The City holds the Second richest city in mindanao, Davao City is only the richest. Zamboanga City holds more than half of the economy of the region. Zamboanga city also has the largest airport and seaport and the only city in the region with most investors.


It has the first export-processing zone in Mindanao. Farming and fishing are the main economic activities of the region. It also has rice and corn mills, oil processing, coffee berry processing and processing of latex from rubber. Its home industries include rattan and furniture craft, basket making, weaving and brass work.


  1. ^ a b "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities". 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "E.O. No. 429". The LawPhil Project. October 12, 1990. Retrieved June 18, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Palace halts regional transfer". December 27, 2010. Retrieved June 18, 2012. 
  4. ^ "E.O. 36". The LawPhil Project. September 19, 2001. Retrieved June 18, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Memorandum Circular No. 75, s. 2004". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. November 12, 2004. Retrieved June 18, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Memorandum Circular No. 11, s. 2010". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. December 22, 2010. Retrieved June 18, 2012. 
  7. ^ "RDC chooses Zamboanga City as regional center of Region 9". March 4, 2011. Retrieved June 18, 2012. 
  8. ^ "A Resolution Endorsing Zamboanga City as the location of Regional Center of Region IX". Regional Development Council IX. March 3, 2011. Retrieved June 18, 2012. 
  9. ^ "NEDA: Zamboanga City will grow sans Regional Center". August 15, 2011. Retrieved June 18, 2012. 
  10. ^ Facts about Pagadian (retrieved: 12 April 2009)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 7°50′N 122°25′E / 7.833°N 122.417°E / 7.833; 122.417