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Subdivisions of the Philippines

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Title: Subdivisions of the Philippines  
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Subdivisions of the Philippines

The Philippines is divided into, from the highest division to the lowest:

  1. Autonomous regions
    • Regular administrative regions are not elected and are considered arms of the national governments, not governments in their own right.
  2. Provinces (lalawigan, probinsiya) and independent cities (lungsod, siyudad/ciudad, dakbayan, lakanbalen)
  3. Municipalities (bayan, balen, bungto, banwa) and component cities (lungsod, siyudad/ciudad, dakbayan, lakanbalen)
  4. Barangays (also known as barrio)

Each division at each level from the provinces down to the barangays is a local government unit (LGU). For administrative purposes, the provinces and cities are grouped into regions. The President has the prerogative to create, abolish and determine the composition of regions, which is done so most often in consultation with the local government units affected; with the exception of autonomous regions, where the residents of the local government units have to ratify in a plebiscite their inclusion in such a setup.

Other political divisions exist for the other branches of government:

  1. Legislative districts for the House of Representatives
  2. Judicial regions for the Regional Trial Courts.

Local government units


All regions except one (Metro Manila) are subdivided into provinces. Each province is headed by a governor. Its legislative body is the Sangguniang Panlalawigan composed of the different members from Sanggunian districts, which in most cases are contiguous to the congressional districts.

Cities and municipalities

Regions, aside from having provinces may also have independent cities. Independent cities, classified either as highly urbanized or independent component cities, are cities which are not under the jurisdiction of a province. These cities are not administered by their mother provinces, do not share their tax revenues with the province, and in most cases their residents are not eligible to elect or be elected to provincial offices.

Cities that are politically a part of a province are called component cities. The voters in these cities are allowed to vote and run for positions in the provincial government.

Municipalities are always components of a province, except Pateros, Metro Manila, which is independent.

Cities and municipalities are headed by a mayor. The legislative arm of these units are the Sangguniang Panlungsod for cities and Sangguniang Bayan for municipalities, which are composed of councilors elected at-large or in some cases, by Sanggunian district.


Cities (both component and independent ones) and municipalities are further divided into barangays. The barangay is the smallest political unit. In some populous cities, barangays are grouped into zones and/or into districts for administrative purposes. In rural areas, sitios or puroks are the preferred ways of subdividing barangays for administrative purposes. Each barangay is headed by a barangay captain.

Gated communities may either be a part of a barangay or a barangay itself. An example of a barangay coextensive with a gated community is Forbes Park, Makati City.

Sitios and Puroks

Below barangays are smaller communities known as sitios and puroks. Not all baranagays are so sub-divided. They leadership is not a recognized Local Government Unit and are not elected in regular general elections. Sitios and puroks are most common in less populated, rural barangays where you might have several pockets of population spread out over a wider area and surrounded by farms or undeveloped mountainsides, or even on different islands.

Other divisions


Regions are administrative groupings of provinces. All but one region do not have political power, but merely serve as administrative groupings of provinces. The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has political power, and is headed by a regional governor. If the Cordillera Administrative Region becomes autonomous, it too, would have political power.

All but one region is divided into provinces. Metro Manila (the National Capital Region) is not divided into provinces, but instead is divided directly into cities and municipalities. The cities and municipalities of Metro Manila are grouped together into non-functional districts for administrative purposes.

The Supreme Court has, in the past, ruled that a region must be composed of more than one province.[1]

Legislative districts

In addition, the Philippines is also divided into legislative districts. The legislative districts may either be a single province, a group of cities and/or municipalities, a single city, or, in cases where a city has a large population, a group of barangays.

The purpose of legislative districts is for the election of representatives to the House of Representatives, and in most instances, also representatives to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial council) or Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council). Legislative districts exercise no administrative functions.

If a province or a city is composed of only one legislative district, it said to be the lone district (for example, the "Lone district of Muntinlupa City").

Judicial regions

The Philippines is divided into thirteen judicial regions, for the purpose of organizing the judicial hierarchy. The judicial regions still reflect the original regional configuration as introduced by former President Marcos.


Here is table showing number of current regions, provinces, municipalities, and cities in the Philippines as of 30 June 2012.[2]

Type Head of Administration Number
English name Filipino name English name Filipino name
Region Rehiyon Regional governor* Gobernador pang-rehiyon 17
Province Probinsya/Lalawigan Governor Gobernador/Punong-lalawigan 80
Municipality Munisipalidad/Bayan Mayor Alkalde/Punongbayan 1,494
City Siyudad/Lungsod Mayor Alkalde/Punonglungsod 140
Village/neighborhood Barangay Barangay Chairman/Barangay Captain Punong-barangay/Kapitan ng Barangay 42,027
*only for autonomous regions


See also

Template:Philippines political divisions

pt:Divisões administrativas das Filipinas
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