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Administrative divisions of the Philippines


Administrative divisions of the Philippines

Local government hierarchy. The dashed lines emanating from the president means that the President only exercises general supervision on local government.

The Philippines has four main classes of elected administrative divisions, often lumped together as local government units (LGUs). They are, from the highest to the lowest division:

  1. Autonomous regions
  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)

Beyond these, the national government groups provinces and independent cities into regions, e.g. Metro Manila or Region VI. 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.

Further, also for similar administrative purposes, a barangay may be sub-divided into either sitios or puroks. Neither the national government's regions nor a barangay's sitios or puroks have elected leaders or government branches.

Other divisions exist for specific narrower purposes:

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


  • Local government units 1
    • Provinces 1.1
    • Cities and municipalities 1.2
    • Barangays 1.3
      • Sitios and Puróks 1.3.1
  • Other divisions 2
    • National Government Regions 2.1
    • Philippine House of Representative districts 2.2
    • Judicial regions 2.3
    • Other governmental bodies 2.4
  • Non-administrative Regions 3
  • Statistics 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6

Local government units

The Philippines is divided into provinces and independent cities. Provinces in turn are divided into component cities and municipalities. All independent cities, component cities and municipalities are divided into barangays. All these (provinces, independent and component cities, municipalities, and barangays) elect their own legislatures and executives and are called collectively "local government units". There is also a single autonomous region, the Automous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which is composed of provinces and independent cities and has its own elected government.


A map of provinces with national government regions.

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, and is often loosely anglicised as "village". 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 (Filipino: Punong Barangay)

Gated communities may either form part of a barangay or constitute an entire barangay by itself. An example of a barangay coterminous with a gated community is Forbes Park, Makati City.

Sitios and Puróks

Below barangays are smaller communities known as sitios and puróks, and are not found in all baranagays. Sitios and puróks are most common in less-populated, rural barangays where human settlement is de facto polycentric, that is, composed of multiple population enclaves spread throughout a wide area, surrounded or separated by farmland, undeveloped mountainside, and water (as is the case of barangays encompassing different islands).

Their leadership is not a recognised Local Government Unit and thus its officials are not elected in regular general elections.

Other divisions

A map of judicial regions.

National Government Regions

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]

Philippine House of Representative districts

For the purpose of electing representatives to the Philippine House of Representatives, the country is divided into "legislative districts". Each province or independent city has at least one representative. If the population is great enough, they may have two or more. The borders of the district are redrawn, known as redistricting, by the passage of an act of Congress, and signed by the president, a process that only happens rarely and only for a limited area.

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 judiciary. The judicial regions still reflect the original regional configuration introduced by President Ferdinand Marcos during his rule, except for the transfer of Aurora to the third judicial region.

Other governmental bodies

The various executive departments has also divided the country into their own respective districts. The Department of Public Works and Highways and the Bureau of Internal Revenue, for example, divide the country into several "engineering" or "revenue" districts.

The non-administrative regions of Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

Non-administrative Regions

The Philippines is broadly divided into three regions: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. These regions are reflected in the name of the national government's formal regions (e.g. Western Visayas) but they have no administrative bodies, either elected or appointed.


Here is table showing number of current regions, provinces, municipalities, and cities in the Philippines as of 31 December 2013.[2]

Type Head of Administration Number
English name Filipino name English name Filipino name
Region Rehiyon Regional governor* Gobernador panrehiyon 17
Province Probinsiya/Lalawigan Governor Gobernador/Punong-lalawigan 81
Municipality Munisipalidad/Bayan Mayor Alkalde/Punong-bayan 1,490
City Siyudad/Lungsod Mayor Alkalde/Punong-lungsod 144
Village/neighborhood Barangay Barangay Chairman/Barangay Captain Punong-barangay/Kapitan ng Barangay 42,028
*only for autonomous regions

See also


  1. ^ The Official Website of the Municipality of Banaue - Significant events of the Municipality
  2. ^ "Provincial Summary: Number of Provinces, Cities, Municipalities and Barangays, by Region". PSGC Summary. National Statistical Coordination Board. December 31, 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
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