Administrative Divisions of the Philippines

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(to access the knowledge database for Administrative Divisions, click Divisions link)

The Philippines is divided into:

  1. Provinces and independent cities
  2. Municipalities and component cities
  3. Barangays

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


Administrative regions
All regions except one (Metro Manila) are subdivided into provinces. Each province is headed by a governor. The legislative arm is the provincial board composed of the different board members from each legislative district (see Legislative districts, below).

Cities and municipalties

Other regions, aside from having provinces also have independent cities. The independent cities are highly urbanized cities, and cities whose charters separated them from their mother provinces. These cities are not administered by their mother provinces, and hence, do not vote for provincial leaders.

Cities that are politically a part of a province are called component cities. The voters in these cities vote for the provincial governor, and is considered a part of the province.

Municipalities are always associated with a province, except those within Metro Manila, which are independent. Cities and municipalities are headed by a mayor. The legislative arm of the cities and municipalities are the city/town councils, which are composed of councilors from each legislative district.


Cities (both independent and within their mother provinces) and municipalities are further divided into barangays. The barangay is the smallest political unit. In some big cities, barangays are grouped into zones for administrative purposes. Each barangay is headed by a barangay captain.

Other divisions


Regions are administrative groupings of provinces. The 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), due to its urban environment, 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 districts for administrative purposes.

The Supreme Court ruled that a region must be composed of more than one province.

Legislative districts

Judicial regions
In addition, the Philippines is also divided into legislative districts. The legislative districts may either be a single province, a group of cities and municipalities, a single city, or, in cases where a city has a large population, a group of barangays. Several cities and municipalities of Metro Manila previously held shared districts - where two or more LGUs had shared a representative. Currently, only the Legislative district of Pateros-Taguig City shares its representatives into two LGUs.

The purpose of legislative districts is for the election of representatives to the House of Representatives. Each legislative district has no political power.

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 Marikina City").

Judicial regions

The Philippines is divided into thirteen judicial regions, where judges of the regional trial courts are stationed.

Other organizations

Different organization divide the country into many different ways:

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Capital Manila | National Capital Region
Provinces Abra | Agusan del Norte | Agusan del Sur | Aklan | Albay | Antique | Apayao | Aurora | Basilan | Bataan | Batanes | Batangas | Benguet | Biliran | Bohol | Bukidnon | Bulacan | Cagayan | Camarines Norte | Camarines Sur | Camiguin | Capiz | Catanduanes | Cavite | Cebu | Compostela Valley | Cotabato | Davao del Norte | Davao del Sur | Davao Oriental | Dinagat Islands | Eastern Samar | Guimaras | Ifugao | Ilocos Norte | Ilocos Sur | Iloilo | Isabela | Kalinga | La Union | Laguna | Lanao del Norte | Lanao del Sur | Leyte | Maguindanao | Marinduque | Masbate | Misamis Occidental | Misamis Oriental | Mountain Province | Negros Occidental | Negros Oriental | Northern Samar | Nueva Ecija | Nueva Vizcaya | Occidental Mindoro | Oriental Mindoro | Palawan | Pampanga | Pangasinan | Quezon | Quirino | Rizal | Romblon | Samar | Sarangani | Shariff Kabunsuan | Siquijor | Sorsogon | South Cotabato | Southern Leyte | Sultan Kudarat | Sulu | Surigao del Norte | Surigao del Sur | Tarlac | Tawi-Tawi | Zambales | Zamboanga del Norte | Zamboanga del Sur | Zamboanga Sibugay
Other subdivisions Island groups | Regions | Cities | Municipalities | Barangays | Legislative districts
Sabah | Scarborough Shoal | Spratly Islands