Regions of the Philippines

The Philippines is subdivided into seventeen (17) regions – eight (8) in Luzon, three (3) in the Visayas, and six (6) in Mindanao. These regions are not local government units but their existence is primarily for administrative purposes. Thus in each region, a city is designated as the center where each of the national government agencies have a regional office.

List of regions

Brief history and timeline

Regions came into existence on September 24, 1972, when President Ferdinand E. Marcos signed into law Presidential Decree (P. D.) No. 1 which divided the entire country into 11 regions, each with a designated regional center.

The eleven regions established under P. D. No. 1
  • Region 1 (Ilocos Region)
  • Region 2 (Cagayan Valley Region)
  • Region 3 (Central Luzon Region)
  • Region 4 (Southern Tagalog Region)
  • Region 5 (Bicol Region)
  • Region 6 (Western Visayas Region)
  • Region 7 (Central Visayas Region)
  • Region 8 (Eastern Visayas Region)
  • Region 9 (Western Mindanao Region)
  • Region 10 (Northern Mindanao Region)
  • Region 11 (Southern Mindanao Region)

On July 7, 1975, President Marcos signed Presidential Decree No. 742, creating Region 12 (Central Mindanao).

On January 23, 1976, President Marcos signed Presidential Decree No. 879, which separated Metropolitan Manila from Region 4 as a distinct region.

On June 2, 1978, President Marcos signed Presidential Decree No. 1396, declaring and establishing the Metropolitan Manila Region as the National Capital Region of the Republic of the Philippines.

On July 15, 1987, President Corazon C. Aquino signed Executive Order No. 220, creating the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

On August 1, 1989, President Corazon C. Aquino signed into law Republic Act No. 6734, creating the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which was subsequently ratified in a plebiscite on November 26, 1989.

On February 23, 1995, President Fidel V. Ramos signed into law Republic Act No. 7901, creating Region 13 (Caraga Region).

On September 19, 2001, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Executive Order No. 36, reorganizing the administrative regions in Mindanao, which included the following changes:

  • Western Mindanao (Region 9) was reorganized to be known as Zamboanga Peninsula.
  • Southern Mindanao (Region 11) was reorganized to be known as Davao Region.
  • Central Mindanao (Region 12) was reorganized to be known as SOCCSKSARGEN.

On May 17, 2002, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Executive Order No. 103, dividing Region IV into Region IV-A (CALABARZON) and Region IV-B (MIMAROPA).

On May 29, 2015, President Benigno S. Aquino III signed Executive Order No. 183, creating the Negros Island Region (NIR) comprising the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental.

On August 7, 2017, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Executive Order No. 38, revoking Executive Order No. 183 and effectively abolishing the Negros Island Region.

On July 27, 2018, President Duterte signed into law Republic Act No. 11054, establishing the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, effectively replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The law was ratified in a plebiscite on January 25, 2019.

Statistics

Based on the 2020 census, the regions with the highest population are, in descending order, CALABARZON (16,195,042), the National Capital Region (13,484,462), and Central Luzon (12,422,172). Almost 40 percent of the national population are found in these three (3) regions alone. The least populated regions are, Cordillera Administrative Region (1,797,660), Caraga (2,804,788), and MIMAROPA Region (3,228,558) whose combined populations account for less than 10 percent of the national count.

Region Population (2020) Province count City count Mun. count Bgy. count Border type Island group
Ilocos Region (Region I)5,301,139491163,267coastalLuzon
Cagayan Valley (Region II)3,685,74454892,311coastalLuzon
Central Luzon (Region III)12,422,1727141163,102coastalLuzon
CALABARZON (Region IV-A)16,195,0425201224,019coastalLuzon
Bicol Region (Region V)6,082,165671073,471coastalLuzon
Western Visayas (Region VI)7,954,7236161174,051coastalVisayas
Central Visayas (Region VII)8,081,9884161163,003coastalVisayas
Eastern Visayas (Region VIII)4,547,150671364,390coastalVisayas
Zamboanga Peninsula (Region IX)3,875,57635671,904coastalMindanao
Northern Mindanao (Region X)5,022,76859842,022coastalMindanao
Davao Region (Region XI)5,243,53656431,162coastalMindanao
SOCCSKSARGEN (Region XII)4,901,48645451,195coastalMindanao
National Capital Region (NCR)13,484,46201611,710coastalLuzon
Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)1,797,66062751,178landlockedLuzon
Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)4,404,288521162,490coastalMindanao
Caraga (Region XIII)2,804,78856671,311coastalMindanao
MIMAROPA Region3,228,55852711,460coastalLuzon

Sources

  1. Data on population derived from the Philippine Statistics Authority.
  2. Maps utilize OpenStreetMap data available under the Open Data Commons Open Database License.
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