This section of the plan includes the analysis of existing land use and physical framework to guide the future physical development of the province. Land use is the manner by which land is actually utilized including its allocation, development and management.


The utilization of the land in the province is generally dictated either by the immediate needs or by the opportunity presented by the market for a certain product or both without the benefit of thorough study on its effect on the land as their resource.

The dominant land use of the province are devoted to perennial trees and vine crops which approximately covers 998.710 sq. km. Majority of these areas are plantation type landholdings that were awarded to farmer-beneficiaries organized into cooperatives refer Table 80. These areas are also identified as “agrarian reform communities” or ARCs by the Department of Agrarian Reform. Of the total area planted to perennial crops, about 17% or 175.115 sq. km. are found within the forestland, an indication that encroachment of marginal farmers into the forest areas is quite on an alarming magnitude as this is left unabated up to present refer Map 41.

On the other hand, areas devoted to irrigated rice covers only an area 8.075 sq. km. which is the least of all land uses as there is a minimal irrigable area available in the province. Hence, Basilan is not really known as major rice producing area in the country. It depends on the imports of rice available in the nearby provinces to sustain the requirements of its local populace.

Table 80 - Existing Land Use, 2012






4.1.1 Built-up/Settlement Areas

The existing built-up/settlement patterns that covers the 810.030 hectare Table 81, are areas where concentration of population engage in economic, governance, cultural and social activities.

Isabela City, and Lamitan City are medium towns with a population of more than 50,000 based on 2010 population. Wherein, Isabela and Lamitan Cities are the centers of the province that serve most of inter-regional linkages. The dominance of Isabela City (former capital of the province) lies on being the centre of provincial governance, economic activities, accessibility of facilities and presence of education and financial institutions.

On the other hand, Lamitan City is increasingly becoming another center of economic activities on the eastern part of the island. The growth rate of the city is partly contributed by the nearby municipalities of Tuburan, Hadji Mohammad Ajul, Akbar, Tipo-Tipo, Al-Barka, and Unkaya Pukan. While Sumisip built-up/settlement was catching up due to the existence of rubber cooperatives.

The remaining settlements that are below 50,000 populations belong to small towns namely Sumisip, Tuburan, Hadji Mohammad Ajul, Akbar, Tipo-Tipo, Al-Barka, Unkaya Pukan, Maluso and Lantawan, and Hadji Muhtamad municipalities. Considering these towns are slow growth settlements, goods and services are practically dependent on the identified economic growth centers of the province

However, Maluso is an aggressive growing municipality at the south-western part of the island province who happen to be the capital of fishing industry of Basilan and the only locality introduces the operation of a municipal fishing port.

Table 81- Existing Land Uses and Distribution, 2008



4.1.2 Protection Areas

As previously explained in Protection Land, it may be categorized into three general categories, namely: those falling with National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) as defined under R.A. 7586, non-NIPAS, and environmentally constrainted areas, among others, Map 16 indicates the protected areas of the province.

Under the NIPAS categories, lands identified are the Basilan Natural Biotic Area (BNBA), the old growth forest and the Kumalarang Watershed. Likewise, areas under the non-NIPAS categories are identified as mangrove forest, buffer strips and eroded river banks.

Areas prone to natural hazards such as tsunami, floodings and severe soil erosion are also identified as protection lands. Protection lands cover an area of 320.934 sq.km. of these, 288.013 sq.km. are within the forestland, Table 83.

In support to the Reforestration Program of the National government, the DENR-ARMM planted different varities with a total area of 674 hectares covering the identified environmental constrained areas, refer Table 82. Around 442 hectares were planted to Rhizophora (mangroves) and Gmelina in Lamitan City and the municipalities of Lantawan, Hji. Muhtamad, Sumisip, and Maluso. While 232 hectares were planted to rubber in the upland areas of Lamitan City, and Maluso, Lantawan and Sumisip Municipalities.

Table 82 - Four Years Reforestration Program, 2010 to 2013



4.1.3 Production Areas

The biggest portion of the production area is utilized for perennial crops as Basilan is known a producer of coconut and rubber. This covers an area of 823.595 sq. km. However, about 217.100 sq.km. of this area are underutilized as these areas are suited to annual cultivated crops but otherwise planted to perennial crops. Most of these areas are located in the city of Lamitan.

On the other hand, an area of 185.422 sq.km. is actually planted to coconut trees but located within the forestland. This indicates that intrusion into the forestland by marginal farmers is prevalent and this pose as a major threat to the denudation of the forest cover. Other production lands identified are production forest, grass and shrubs lands, and brackish water fishpond. Production areas cover an area of 1,018.666 sq. km., out of these areas, 141.349 sq. km. or 13.88% are located within the forestland, Table 83.

4.1.4 Other Areas

Areas identified under this category are devoted to major utility facilities and other infrastructure. The industrial areas within the agricultural plantations situated in the different municipalities are identified in this category. Although these areas are still integral part of the plantations and classified as agricultural but nonetheless this must be treated separately for environmental concerns and sustainability.

Solid waste disposal system of the Cities of Isabela, Lamitan and other municiapalities are also part of this category. The provincial government is on the process of identifying and selecting possible sites for for the Provincial Agro-Industrial Center and the Provincial Government Center. Moreover, expansion of the urban areas as a result of the increase in population shall also be addressed in order to regulate conversion of prime agricultural lands. This area covers about 31.300 sq. km. within the Alienable and Disposable Lands.


One of the major concerns of the province is the dwindling forest cover in the central highlands. In the sixties, Basilan used to have vast forest areas, but with the influx of logging concessionaires in the late sixties and early seventies has greatly contributed to the reduction of the forest trees in the province. Today, the forestland is heavily intruded by settlers. This was brought about by the inadvertent reclassification of the portion of the National Park into a resettlement area for MNLF rebel returnees covering an area of 96.67 sq. km. during the Marcos regime. This started the onslaught of unabated logging in the area to pave way for agricultural development.

At least 45% of the entire forestland is already planted to agricultural crop which generally is not suited in the area. Because of steepness in slopes, these areas became prone to severe soil erosion. The inner portion of the forestland may still have old growth forest but this should be properly safeguarded from the intrusion of settlers. Apparently at present, the government has no actual aggressive programs to protect this area from further denudation.

The mangrove forest is also one of the physical resources that have to be properly addressed. To date, at least 25.05 sq.km. of this area has been illegally converted into fishpond. In addition, the proliferation of informal settlement shanties into these areas along the coastline of urban centers of Isabela City, Lamitan City, and even in some municipalities like Maluso, Tipo-Tipo and Sumisip has also to be addressed. While the expansion of fishpond areas could boost fish production, its adverse affect however would be the diminishing sanctuaries for our marine products and wildlife.

Areas prone to natural hazards are not given much of an emphasis in actuality. People living along the flood prone and tsunami prone areas are not really prepared for occurrence of this disaster. Their mitigating response would always be reactionary in nature as they are not properly educated and supported on this matter.

Moreover, the demand for urban expansion should always be paramount priority in planning. As the local population is expected to increase the demand for shelter shall be one of the basic needs. However, in Basilan rate of urbanization is not that high but illegal conversion of prime agricultural lands into residential areas in the urban centers of Isablea City, Lamitan, Maluso are prevalent but on a minimal scale.


The projected population of 2020 and 2023 were derived using the 2000-2010 average population growth rates of each cities and municipalities. Land requirement for settlements expansion was derived using the incremental population of 2020 and 2023 multiplied with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) standard for settlement of six hectare per 1,000 inhabitants.

Isabela accounts 45% or 198 hectares of land requirements by 2020 and 46% or 272 hectares by 2023. While Lamitan City demands 73 hectares and 97 hectares for the years 2020 amd 2023, respectively. Followed by the island municipality of Hj. Muhtamad (23.45 hectares in 2020 and 31.87 hectares for 2023), Akbar Municipality (21.17 hectares by 2020 and 28.55 hectares in by 2023) and Maluso (17.92 hectares in 2020 and 23.60 hectares by 2023). Other municipalites land requirements are all less than 15 hectares by 2020 but increases by 2023 refer Table 83.

The projected increase is due to the continuous development in the entire province such as the concreting of the Basilan Circumferential Road (BCR) and the expansion of economic activities specially the agriculture and fishery opportunities.



Table 83-  Land Requirement for Settlement Expansion, by Location, 2012




The huge physical expansion of Isabela and Lamitan cities will be built-up within 3 to 4 kilometers radius covering urban barangays. This is attributed due to the opportunities, accesibility of services and the strategic economic growth of the area. While expansion in rural barangays will also increase due to agricultural increase, Map 43. On the other hand, the municipality of Maluso still considers coastal areas as expansion but heavy increase is expected within the town proper due to accesibility and growing economic activities.

The entrance of the municipalities of Al-Barka and Ungkaya Pukan in 2006 displaced and disarrays the settlement of Tipo-Tipo (mother town) due to the new clustering of populace, areas and economic activities. However, it can be noticed that services will be more defined and specific considering the limited number of barangays.

For Tipo-Tipo, as shown in Map 44, expansion for built- up areas is within the poblacion proper wherein it is the exisiting center of governance, services and trading. The expansion in rural barangays is being considered due to the growing agricultural development.

While Al-Barka Municipality is establishing its local government center in Barangay Guinanta considering it is the common assembly area of its constituents and at the same time the market place. Expansion in upland and coastal barangays can be observed in the near future due to livelihood opportunities.

For Ungkaya Pukan, the municipal hall was established in Sitio Puno- Batu, Barangay Materling. It is also the center of trade and commerce considering the accesibility along basilan circumferential road. Built-up expansion will also cover the rural areas due to massive agricultural development

On the hand, the municipalities of Akbar and Hadji Mohammad Ajul were carved from Tuburan municipality refer Map 45. The new municipalities mostly covered the coastal barangays. For Tuburan, the center of government is in Barangay Lower Tablas and likely the built-up expansion area. Due to the accessibility to services and economic related activities.

However, the local government of Akbar is located in Barangay Upper Bato-Bato, it is the frequently visited place for consultations, meetings and market place among the constituents. The nearby barangays are also considered as an expansion areas down to coastal lines.

Hadji Mohammad Ajul municipality will be installing its local government center in barangay Buton, the most populated area. Large built-up expansion is projected within the coastal belt since livelihood income of the constituents is basically dependent in the fishing industry.

Map 46, shows the additional island municipalities created in 2007. The Hadji Muthamad municipality was segragated from Lantawan which covers the island barangays and islets. The center of governance is in barangay Panducan. However, Pilas Island which consists of 4 barangays will be the center for trade and services.

Other Island municipality is the TABUAN-LASA taken out from Sumisip municipality that consists of (Tapiantana-Bubuan Lanawan-Saluping). Since the islands are group and accessible to each barangay, the center will be established in Lanawan Island. Expansion is considered within the coastal line due to its physical distinction, Map 47.











4.5.1 Settlements Framework

The foremost concern of the physical framework plan of the province relative to settlements development is to effect a rational distribution of the population, to ensure easy access to economic opportunities, social services and environment expansion.


Basilan province’s inclusion into the ARMM continues to pose significant challenges to provincial development planning. On the other hand, the proposed inclusion of Isabela City in the Bangsamoro Government need to rework benchmarks, and its significant contributions to provincial economic growth, and reassessing data in the light of new political subdivisions exert pressure for new and revised growth plans relevant to existing situations.

On the other hand, the framework will also guide and steer the newly created municipalities which directly affect the settlement distribution and economic development.


  • Proliferation of informal settlers in urban centers.
  • Rapid growth rate.
  • No official identified town centers for the new municipalities
  • Scattered physical arrangements of settlements.
  • High Poverty Incidence.
  • Poor investment climate.
  • High incidence of mortality and morbidity.
  • High rate of illiteracy, drop-outs, participation and cohort survival.
  • Lack of basic social services.

Policy Options

  • Mitigate the proliferation of urban informal settler.
  • Formulate Integrated Social Services Program (health, education, etc) including the institutionalization and capability building of the community.
  • Population growth towards prime agricultural lands and protected areas especially in mangrove areas should be contained and discouraged.
  • Encourage urban expansion in environmentally compatible areas.
  • Formulation of comprehensive land use plans and zoning ordinances.
  • Formulate Local Economic Development Plan.
  • Ancestral domain delienation and demarcation.
  • Cadastral survey for political boundaries.
  • Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Management Plan.
  • Tri-polar strategy for economic development (agro-industrial centers, etc.).

4.5.2 Protection Framework

A major concern of this framework is the achievement of environmental stability and ecological integrity as well as the protection of people and economic infrastructures from the ill-effects of natural hazards. To realize these, the province must exert all possible efforts to strike a balance between resource use and the preservation of some areas with ecological, environmental, aesthetic, educational, cultural and historical significance.


Protection land is that portion of land and water set aside for its unique physical and biological significance, manages to enhance biological diversity and protected against destructive human influences or impact. Protected land may be divided into three general categories, namely: those falling with National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) as defined under RA 7586, non-NIPAS, and environmentally constrainted areas, among others.


  • Settlement within the protection areas.
  • Degradation and exploitation of protection areas.
  • Timber poaching.
  • Poor account of ecological consideration in land classification.
  • Polluted environment.
  • Absence of Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan.
  • Absence of Coastal Resource Management Plan.
  • Absence of Marine Protected Area Management Plan.l
  • Undeveloped industry potential areas.
  • Non-demarcation of boundaries of protection areas.
  • Non-resolution of conflicts within protection areas.
  • Provide ground marking/warning signs and proper risk information in areas that are prone to geologic and meteorological hazards such as severe flooding, erosion, landslides, and known fault lines.
  • Fishponds located within reserve mangrove forest.

Policy Options

  • Compliance of existing forestry and environmental laws.
  • Regulate population expansion in protected areas.
  • Formulation and adoption of the City/Municipal Forest Land Use Plan (FLUP).
  • Regulate sand/gravel extraction.
  • Regulate and legitimize operation of In-land fishing.
  • Formulation and adoption of City/Municipal Coastal Resource Management Plan.
  • Formulation/Updating of City/Municipal Marine Protected Area Management Plan (MPAMP).
  • Forest and biodiversity resources management.
  • Adoption of Integrated Water Resources Management.






4.5.3 Production Framework

The overriding concern of Production Land Use is to provide adequate and accessible space for food production, forest and mineral resource extraction, industry and tourism with the end in view of meeting the material and other requirements of the population. In the province of Basilan, priorities shall be accorded to the provision of space for agricultural and fishery production, forest utilization and for industrial uses.


Evidently, there are areas in the province suited for agricultural cultivation that are classified as forestland. There are also areas suited for forest production but likewise classified as alienable and disposable lands. In terms of slope variation, about 40% of the land area is considered lowlands ranging from 0-8% slope and are areas mostly along the coastline. While 48% are identified as highlands (8-30%) and about 12% are categorized in the uplands (30% up) and are mostly located in the central hinterlands. These would indicate that in the past, the process of reclassifying lands did not involve critical investigation as to the suitability of the land, Map 40.


  • Low production.
  • Misclassification of land use.
  • Insufficient forage covers of existing pasture/grazing lands.
  • Land utilization is not in accordance with its capability (over and under utilization of land).

Policy Options

  • Regulate conversion of prime agricultural lands to urban development.
  • Maximize productivity within sustainable land use.
  • Formulate agri-fishery ordinances.
  • Intensify quality control.
  • Formulate soil control measures and other technologies.
  • Equitable access to natural resources.



4.5.4 Infrastructure Framework

The Infrastructure and Utilities are primarily intended to support economically and socially productive activities and to solve essential development problems. The infrastructure plan as a service sector serves as the core linkage both of the settlements and land use requirement, Map 51.



The economic development of an area depends on the availability of infrastructure and the degree to which has been developed. Basically, it is the infrastructure sector that catalyses the growth and development of the other sectors in the economy.

The rural road density of the province is 0.39 km/km2 and urban road density is 0.78 km/1,000 population both are below the standard. This is an indication that some areas particularly those located in the hinterlands are still not adequate linked to the urban or market centers. The province needs about 3,711.08 km of rural road and 220.13 km urban road. The basic access to forums, sources of livelihood, markets and social services remaining inadequate.

  • Inadequate and poorly maintained roads to connect production areas to market and processing centers.
  • Ports are inadequately equipped in terms of facilities that will help improve the delivery of services.
  • Lack of coordination in the prioritization and realignment of infrastructure projects as well as the complementation of resources among implementing agencies in the national, regional and local governments.

Policy Options

  • Expand and improve the commercial ports of Isabela and Lamitan to meet the expected increase in the volume of cargoes as a result of establishment of Strong Republic Nautical Highway for shorter turnaround time.
  • Prioritize concrete paving of the national road and major provincial lateral roads.
  • Construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of farm to market roads to facilitate the mobility and distribution of people, goods and services.
  • Rehabilitate and upgrade existing port facilities of the coastal municipalities to make it effective and efficient in handling people, goods and services.
  • Closer coordination among national, regional and local governments and encourage greater civil society participation to ensure that infrastructure development will be in line with government’s policy of transparency.
  • Activation of Area Coordinating Council (ACC)



Basilan Electric Cooperative (BASELCO) was reorganized to improve the services and minimize voltage fluctuation and blackout in the province. The total dependable power distributed to the province is only 8.63 megawatts (mw) with the increasing power demand. There is a looming power shortage of about 20 mw by 2023.

The implementation of the Energy Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of RA 9136 affects the plan of the province. Per Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Guidelines, sub-transmission assets such as the 69kv facility now belong to distribution utilities. The proposed 69kv submarine cable connection to mondanao grid was included in 2003 priority project of the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) but because of the ERC Guidelines, BASELCO is not financially capable to implement the project.

The current power charge is Php 11.338 kilowatt per hour, one of the highest rates compared to other electric cooperatives.

  • Looming power shortage.
  • Frequent power outages/fluctuations have adverse effects on the economy.
  • Financial incapability of BASELCO to implement the proposed 69 kv submarine cable connecting Isabela City, Basilan to Zamboanga City
Policy Options
  • Harnessing local resources as alternative power sources.
  • Upgrade the transmission lines to improve power delivery and maintain operating voltage or minimize fluctuations.
  • ERC to exempt Basilan Province from the coverage of its guidelines and allow TransCo to implement the 69 kv submarine cable project.
  • Expand the coverage of solar power in the island barangays.
  • Formulate Power Line Plan in coordination with concern agencies.

Water Supply


Despite of the abundance of water sources, only about half of the household population has access to potable water. Only urban areas of cities of Isabela and Lamitan and the municipality of Maluso have potable water supplied by their respective water districts. The growing demand for water necessitates the improvement and development of water sources.


Inaccessibility of some hinterland and island barangays to level I and II potable water supply system.
Limited funds for the expansion/rehabilitation of level III water supply services especially in the city of Lamitan and municipality of Maluso.

Policy Options

Expand access to potable water supply through expansion of Level I and II water system in rural and island barangays.
Encourage greater private sector participation or support in the expansion/rehabilitation of level III water system.



Basically, post offices and telegraphic services are available in the six original municipalities. The existing Provincial Telephone System has a capacity of 1,400 lines through only 700 lines are operational due to inefficiency of services and the proliferation of mobile phone and cyber technology. Despite the age of digital infrastructure, the province is still in dearth need of a modern telecommunication system to be at pace with the requirements of the business sector and offices.

  • Absence or lack of telecommunication facilities in far-flung areas such as internet connection, fax machines and public calling offices.
Policy Options
  • There is the need to upgrade the existing provincial telephone system and improve its services.
  • Expand the coverage of cell site facilities.
  • Establishment of public access points (e-centers) for far-flung areas.



The province is endowed with vast tract of fertile agriculture land complementing with a huge water resources. Despite of this, only 248 ha are served by communal irrigation system, mostly in the cities of Isabela and Lamitan of 21.21% of the 1,169 ha irrigable land. Considering the high demand of rice, the LGUs must find ways to develop the irrigable land.

  • Deteriorating irrigation system and development of the remaining irrigable land areas.

Policy Options
  • Development of the remaining irrigable areas and rehabilitation and/or improvement of existing irrigation system in support of the government’s thrust on increasing agricultural productivity and employment generation.
  • Strengthen the irrigator’s association capability in maintaining the irrigation system.

Flood Control and Drainage System


The three growth centers of the province: Isabela City, Lamitan City and the municipality of Maluso are still suffering from flood which disturb their economic activities. Agricultural areas that are affected by frequent flooding thus suffer losses. The local government units must exert effort to prepare and implement a comprehensive flood control and drainage system program.

  • Absence of a comprehensive flood control and drainage system plan/program.
  • Limited fundings for flood control and drainage system projects.
Policy Options
  • Concerned agencies/LGUs should come up with a comprehensive Flood Control and Drainage System Plan and irrigate the possible damages from flooding.
  • Government should give equal importance to flood control and drainage projects in terms of funding.


4.6.1 TriPolar Development Strategy

Steered by the province’s vision and mission, Settlements trend, potentials economic expansions, efficient social facilities, and local government development, the province decided to adopt the Tri-Polar Development Strategy over the next six years, refer Map 52 and Map 53.

The likely effects of this economic strategy will put pressure to increase accessibility to all services. Futher congestion can be avoided if local policy will identify potential and non-productive areas for settlement, industrial site and provision for support facilities.















About Basilan

The ancient name of Basilan Island was Tagime, named after a Datu who once ruled a big part of the island before the Spaniards came to Basilan. In the long past, Basilan had other names. It used to be named Uleyan, derived from a mountain located at the heart of the island. Later, it was changed to Matangal, also named after Mt. Matangal in Tuburan. Other names given were Puh Gulangan (island of forest); Umus Tambun (fertile land); Kumalarang, named after a river; Baunuh Peggesan; and later it was changed to Basih Balan.

Financial Stories

Has no content to show!