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Political Economy and Governance

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The Philippines is a unitary presidential constitutional republic, with its president acting as both the head of state and the head of government. The country is run by three branches of government: executive, legislative and judiciary. Local government units (LGUs) exercise jurisdiction over specified provinces, cities and municipalities.

Administrative power is at the national and the regional levels, with administrative powers further decentralized to provincial, municipal and barangay levels. To facilitate the delivery of national programmes, the traditional island groups of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao are divided into:

  • Region I
  • Region II 
  • Region III,
  • Region IV-A
  • Region 1V-B or MIMAROPA
  • Region V 
  • Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR)
  • National Capital Region (NCR)
  • Region VI
  • Region VII 
  • Region VIII
  • Region IX
  • Region X
  • Region XI
  • Region XII
  • Region XIII
  • the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim (BARMM): BARMM is autonomous, governed by a parliament and chief of minister as the head of government.

A devolution process is ongoing, with transfers of competencies in the management of design and delivery of different social services for children, adolescents and women.

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The election cycle in the Philippine is typically conducted every 3 years and 6 years as mandated by Republic Act 9369. The president, vice president and senators serve a six-year term. Members of the House of Representatives (districts) and local governments (governor, vice-governor, mayor, vice-mayor, local legislators, and barangay officials including youth councillors/Sangguniang Kabataan) serve a three-year term.

The Philippines operates under a multiparty system. Multiple political parties compete during the national and local elections. While major parties often dominate the political composition of the executive and legislative branches of the government, the party-list system was institutionalized as a political reform since 1995. Its purpose is to ensure the representation of the marginalized and underrepresented sectors in the country’s legislative body, the House of Representatives. The party-list system mandates that party-list representatives constitute at least 20 per cent of the total members of the House of Representatives.

In the most recent election held in 2022, there were 253 district representatives and 63 party-list elected to compose the 19th Congress (2022–2025). The system provides a platform for diverse sectors and interest in the nation’s legislative process.