The Philippine Government in a nutshell
Pre-colonial Philippines had separate kingdoms as a form of government with kings and sultans as the head of states. Some centuries later, the Philippines is now a republic with a presidential form of government wherein the system is made up of three, coequal branches namely the executive, legislative, and judiciary. These three branches are sovereign yet interdependent with each other.
According to the 1987 Constitution, the executive power is vested on the President of the Philippines. The President functions as the Head of State, Head of Government, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The President heads the Executive branch that includes the Cabinet and all executive departments, bureaus and offices. The President also has the power to appoint ambassadors, officers of the armed forces, and the members of the Supreme Court.
The President is elected by direct vote by the citizens of the Philippines and has a term of six years and is ineligible for reelection.
An individual may become the President of the Philippines if he meets the following criteria:
- Natural born Filipino
- A registered voter
- Must be able to read and write
- At least 40 years of age at the day of election
- Must have resided in the Philippines ten years before the election is held.
The Vice President
The Vice President is the first in line of succession in cases of resignation or death of the President. The Vice President has no official responsibilities aside from those assigned by the President. The Vice President is elected the same process as the President and also has the same qualifications.
Cabinet Secretaries are the head of their perspective departments and execute orders by the President’s authority. They also advise the President different affairs concerning their departments like health, agriculture, education, tourism, foreign affairs, and national defense.
The President is given the power to nominate a Cabinet Secretary to be approved or rejected by the Commission on Appointments. The President can also create or abolish any department as he sees fit for his Administration.
There are currently 27 Cabinet Secretaries in the Aquino Administration.
The President is mandated to supervise the local governments in the country. The President’s power is not absolute however. Through the Local Government Code of 1991, local governments enjoy relative autonomy from the National Government.
The local government is administered by Local Government Units (LGUs) from provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays. Provinces are headed by a governor and its legislative body is the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Council), which is composed of the different members of the Sanggunian districts.
Cities and municipalities are headed by a mayor and their legislative arm is the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) and Sangguniang Bayan (Town Council) that are composed of councilors.
The smallest local government units are the barangays. Barangays are headed by the Barangay Captain. In some instances, populous cities are further grouped into zones for administrative purposes.
Sitios and Puroks are further subdivision of a barangay but are not recognized as an LGU. They are only used for rural areas where several pockets of the barangay’s population are spread over a wider area.