In the Philippines, regions (Filipino: rehiyon; ISO 3166-2:PH) are administrative divisions that primarily serve to coordinate planning and organize national government services across multiple local government units (LGUs). Most national government offices provide services through their regional branches instead of having direct provincial or city offices. Regional offices are usually but not necessarily located in the city designated as the regional center.
As of 2019, the Philippines is divided into 17 regions. 16 of these are mere administrative groupings, each provided by the president of the Philippines with a regional development council (RDC) – in the case of the National Capital Region (Metro Manila), an additional metropolitan authority serves as the coordinating and policy-making body. Only one, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, has an elected government and parliament to which the Congress of the Philippines has delegated certain powers and responsibilities.
Regions first came to existence on September 24, 1972, when the provinces of the Philippines were organized into eleven regions under Presidential Decree No. 1 as part of the Integrated Reorganization Plan of President Ferdinand Marcos. Since that time, other regions have been created and some provinces have been transferred from one region to another.
As of June 30, 2019[update], the Philippines is divided into 17 regions. The traditional island groups of Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao are composed of eight (Regions I, II, III, IV-A, and V, and CAR, NCR, and Mimaropa), three (VI, VII, and VIII), and six (IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, and BARMM) regions, respectively. The names of Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and Soccsksargen are acronyms signifying their component provinces and cities; and are usually capitalized in official government documents.
An administrative region is a grouping of geographically adjacent LGUs that may be established, disestablished, and modified by the President of the Philippines based on the need to formulate coherent economic development policies, more efficiently provide national government services, and coordinate activities beneficial to the development of larger area beyond the province level. No plebiscites have been conducted so far to democratically confirm the creation, abolition or alteration of the boundaries of regular administrative regions, as the Constitution does not mandate it.
An administrative region is not a local government unit (LGU), but rather a group of LGUs to which the President has provided an unelected policy-making and coordinating structure, called the Regional Development Council (RDC). Metro Manila is recognized in law as a "special development and administrative region", and was thus given the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA); the Metro Manila Council within the MMDA serves as the National Capital Region's RDC.
Main article: Autonomous regions of the Philippines
The 1987 Constitution allows for the creation of autonomous regions in the Cordillera Central of Luzon and the Muslim-majority areas of Mindanao. However, only the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and its predecessor, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, have been approved by voters in plebiscites held in 1989, 2001, and 2019. Voters in the Cordilleras rejected autonomy in 1990 and 1998; hence the Cordillera Administrative Region remains as a regular administrative region with no delegated powers or responsibilities.
The Supreme Court has ruled that an autonomous region established by statute must be composed of more than one province, thereby invalidating the proposed establishment of the Autonomous Region of Ifugao following the results of the original 1990 Cordillera autonomy plebiscite, which saw only Ifugao's voters casting a majority 'yes' vote towards autonomy.
|National Capital Region
(239.22 sq mi)
|20,784/km2 (53,831/sq mi)|
|Cordillera Administrative Region
(7,498.89 sq mi)
|89/km2 (230/sq mi)|
|01||Luzon||San Fernando||13,012.60 km2
(5,024.19 sq mi)
|386/km2 (1,000/sq mi)|
(10,899.21 sq mi)
|122/km2 (317/sq mi)|
|03||Luzon||San Fernando||22,014.63 km2
(8,499.90 sq mi)
|510/km2 (1,320/sq mi)|
(6,514.82 sq mi)
|854/km2 (2,213/sq mi)|
|Southwestern Tagalog Region
(11,436.69 sq mi)
|100/km2 (259/sq mi)|
(7,010.00 sq mi)
|319/km2 (827/sq mi)|
|06||Visayas||Iloilo City||20,794.18 km2
(8,028.68 sq mi)
|362/km2 (939/sq mi)|
|07||Visayas||Cebu City||15,487.69 km2
(5,979.83 sq mi)
|478/km2 (1,237/sq mi)|
(8,977.30 sq mi)
|191/km2 (495/sq mi)|
(6,585.64 sq mi)
|213/km2 (551/sq mi)|
|10||Mindanao||Cagayan de Oro||20,496.02 km2
(7,913.56 sq mi)
|229/km2 (593/sq mi)|
|11||Mindanao||Davao City||20,357.42 km2
(7,860.04 sq mi)
|245/km2 (634/sq mi)|
(8,692.43 sq mi)
|202/km2 (523/sq mi)|
(8,292.84 sq mi)
|121/km2 (313/sq mi)|
|19||Mindanao||Cotabato City||12,535.79 km2
(4,840.10 sq mi)
|302/km2 (781/sq mi)|
For a list of these judicial regions, see Regional Trial Court § List.
As far as the judiciary is concerned, specifically the first and second level courts, the country is divided into judicial regions as provided by Batas Pambansa Bilang 129. The coverage of these judicial regions generally coincides with that of the administrative regions in 1980, with some exceptions.
Representation for the Interim Batasang Pambansa was mostly through parliamentary districts based on how regions were organized in 1978. Metro Manila was "Region IV", while Southern Tagalog was "Region IV-A". This was the only time the national legislature was represented via regions; in a 1984 plebiscite, voters approved a constitutional amendment that reverted to representation per province and city.
The following are regions that no longer exist, listed along with their current status: