Provinces of the Philippines
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The province (Filipino: lalawigan or probinsya) is the primary local government unit in the Philippines. The country is divided into 81 provinces, which are further subdivided into cities (lungsod) and municipalities (bayan). The National Capital Region, which includes the capital city Manila, is not divided into provinces.
The provinces are grouped into 17 regions (rehiyon) based on geographical, cultural, and ethnological characteristics. Fourteen of the regions are designated with numbers corresponding roughly with their geographic location from north to south. The National Capital Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao do not have a number designation.
The provincial government is headed by a governor (gobernador). For purposes of legislative representation, the province is divided into one or more congressional districts (distrito). Each city or municipality belongs to one of these districts. One congressman (kinatawan) represents each district in the House of Representatives. Every district also has board members in the Provincial Board (see the succeeding section on the Provincial government).
On December 2, 2006, the people of Surigao del Norte approved the creation the new province of Dinagat Islands through a plebescite after the Philippine Congress approved the law creating the said province.
 Provincial government
The provincial government has an executive and a legislative branch. The judicial powers in the province are under the supervision of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. The provincial government is an autonomous unit, given direct supervision of the affairs of the province. The president of the Philippines coordinates with the provinces through the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
 Executive branch
The provincial government is headed by a governor (gobernador), who is the chief executive and head of the province. Under the governor are the various provincial departments such as the Administration, Legal Office, Information Office, Engineering Office, and Treasury Office.
The governor is elected a term of three years and may be elected for a maximum of three terms. The provincial department heads are appointed by the governor.
 Legislative branch
Heading the legislature of the province is the vice-governor (bise-gobernador) who presides over the Provincial Board (Sangguniang Panlalawigan), which is composed of board members from each district in the province. Depending on the income class of the province, it may either have eight or ten board members. First and second class provinces have ten board members while third and fourth class provinces have eight. Negros Occidental and Cebu are exceptions, having 12 board members each.
The board also has, as ex-officio members, the provincial president of the Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) (Liga ng mga Barangay), the provincial president of the Philippine Councilors League (PCL), and the provincial president of Sanggunian Kabataan (SK) Federation (the youth council).
All of the board members are elected by the citizens of the province along with the governor. The ex-officio members are elected within their organizations.
 List of provinces
- ↑ On February 20, 1995, legislation was approved for the division of Isabela into Isabela del Norte and Isabela del Sur. It was disapproved in the provincial plebisite. The division never took place.
- ↑ Negros del Norte was created from Negros Occidental on January 3, 1986. Its creation was declared unconstitutional on July 11, 1986, and it was abolished on August 18, 1986.
When the United States acquired the Philippines from Spain in 1898, the islands were divided into four gobiernos, which were further subdivided into provinces and districts. The American administration initially inherited the Spanish divisions and placed them under military government. As insurgencies were pacified, civil government was gradually restored.
- 1901-06-11: Morong district merged with part of Manila province to form Rizal province.
- 1902: Mindoro province merged with Marinduque; Amburayan province split from La Union; Later, Marinduque province merged with Tayabas.
- 1903: Moro province formed, consisting of the districts of Cotabato, Davao, Lanao, Sulu, and Zamboanga. Its capital was Zamboanga.
- 1905: Name of Paragua province changed to Palawan. Masbate province merged with Sorsogon.
- 1907: Romblon province merged with Capiz; split from it again in 1917.
- 1907-08-20: Agusan province split from Surigao.
- 1908: Abra province merged with Ilocos Sur; split from it again on 1917-03-09.
- 1908-08-13: Mountain province formed by merging Amburayan, Apayao, Benguet, Bontoc, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Lepanto province, which became its sub-provinces.
- 1909: Batanes province split from Cagayan.
- 1916-08-29: Name and status of Moro province changed to Mindanao and Sulu department. Status of its districts (Bukidnon, Cotabato, Davao, Lanao, Misamis, Sulu, and Zamboanga) changed to provinces.
- 1917-03-10: Ambos Camarines province divided into Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur provinces.
- 1920-02-21: Marinduque province split from Tayabas.
- 1920-12-15: Masbate province split from Sorsogon.
- 1921-02-20: Mindoro province split from Marinduque.
- 1929-11-02: Misamis province divided into Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental provinces (implemented 1939-11-28).
- 1945-09-26: Catanduanes province split from Albay.
- 1946: Romblon province merged with Capiz; split from it again on 1947-01-01.
- 1946-09-07: Name of Tayabas province changed to Quezon.
- 1950-06-13: Mindoro province split into Mindoro Occidental and Mindoro Oriental.
- 1952-06-06: Zamboanga province split into Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur.
- 1956-04-25: Aklan province split from Capiz (implemented 1956-11-08).
- 1959-05-22: Lanao province divided into Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur; Southern Leyte province split from Leyte.
- 1960-06-19: Surigao province divided into Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur provinces.
- 1965-06-19: Samar province divided into Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, and Western Samar.
- 1966-06-18: South Cotabato province split from Cotabato; Benguet, Ifugao, and Kalinga-Apayao provinces split from Mountain; Camiguin province split from Misamis Oriental.
- 1967-05-08: Davao province divided into Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, and Davao Oriental provinces (implemented 1967-07-01).
- 1967-06-17: Agusan province divided into Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur provinces (implemented 1970-01-01).
- 1969-06-21: Name of Western Samar province changed to Samar.
- 1971-09-10: Quirino province split from Nueva Vizcaya.
- 1972-01-08: Siquijor province split from Negros Oriental.
- 1972-06-17: Name of Davao del Norte province changed to Davao.
- 1973-09-11: Tawi-Tawi province split from Sulu.
- 1973-11-22: Cotabato province divided into Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat provinces.
- 1973-12-27: Status of Basilan (formerly within Zamboanga del Sur province) changed from chartered city to province.
- 1975-11-08: Metro Manila split from Rizal province.
- 1979-08-13: Aurora province split from Quezon, following a referendum.
- 1983-12-19: Name of North Cotabato province changed to Cotabato.
- 1986-01-03: Negros del Norte province split from Negros Occidental. This action was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, and Negros Occidental reverted to its original status on 1986-08-18.
- 1992-03-16: Sarangani province split from South Cotabato.
- 1992-05-11: Biliran province split from Leyte; Guimaras province split from Iloilo.
- 1995-02-14: Kalinga-Apayao province split into Kalinga and Apayao provinces.
- 1998-03-07: Compostela Valley province split from Davao province. Name of Davao province changed back to Davao del Norte.
- 2001-02-23: Zamboanga Sibugay province split from Zamboanga del Sur.
- 2006-08-30: Shariff Kabunsuan province split from Maguindanao.
- 2006-10-02: Dinagat Islands province split from Surigao del Norte.
The provinces are mainly named after geographic features like rivers and islands, after people or individuals, or they bear a name of older local origin.
Provinces named after:
- Ethnic groups:
- Other known people:
- Shariff Kabunsuan
- Sultanates: Sulu, Maguindanao
- Other bodies of water:
- Albay (root word: albaybay - shore)
- Dinagat Islands (root word: dagat - sea)
- Ilocos (root word: look - bay)
- Other landforms:
- Prominent cities and towns in the province:
- Regions in Spain:
- Nueva Ecija
- Nueva Vizcaya
- Spanish words:
- Camarines (root word: camarin - granary)
- Abra (root word: abrir - to open)
- La Union
- Local objects and words:
- Basilan (root word: basilan - iron trail)
- Benguet (root word: benget - Ibaloi term for head scarf)
- Cebu (root word: sugbo)
- Cavite (root word: kawit - hook)
- Cotabato (root word: kuta bato - stone fort)
- Sarangani (root word: sangir - the language spoken by inhabitants of Sarangani Island)
- Sorsogon (root word: solsogon - to follow the river upstream)
- Nature, flora and fauna:
- Antique (from the red ants known locally as lantik-lantik)
- Batangas (root word: 'batang' - log)
- Biliran (root word: biliran - native grass for weaving mats)
- Bohol (root word: bo-ol - a local tree)
- Bulacan (root word: burac - mud, or bulaklak - flower)
- Camiguin (root word: kamagong tree)
- Capiz (root word: kapis - pearl shells)
- Catanduanes (root word: tando tree abundant along Catandungan River)
- Pangasinan (root word: asin - salt)
- Tarlac (root word: tarlak - Ayta term for weeds)
- Zamboanga (root word: sampaga - flower)
In addition, many Philippines provinces have Spanish and English directions in their names, such as Zamboanga del Norte (English: Northern Zamboanga).
 See also
- ISO 3166-2:PH
- Philippine Standard Geographic Code Interactive, National Statistical Coordination Board
- Total Population, Number of Households, Average Household Size, Population Growth Rate and Population Density by Region, Province and Highly Urbanized City: as of May 1, 2000, Census 2000 Final Counts, National Statistics Office, Republic of the Philippines
- The Local Government Code of the Philippines, Department of Interior and Local Government, Republic of the Philippines
- Government system based on US and Spanish models under review, Andrew Stevens, Local government in The Philippines, City Mayors
- Provinces of the Philippines, Gwillim Law, Statoids.com
 External links