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A barangay (Filipino: baranggay, [baɾaŋˈɡaj]) is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for a village, district or ward. Barangays are further subdivided into smaller areas called Puroks (English: Zone). A sitio is a territorial enclave inside a barangay, especially in rural areas. Municipalities and cities are composed of barangays. In place names barangay is sometimes abbreviated as "Brgy." or "Bgy.". As of June 28, 2011 there are a total of 42,026 barangays throughout the Philippines.
When the first Spaniards arrived in the 16th century, they found the Filipinos having a civilization of their own and some living in well-organized independent villages called barangays. The name barangay originated from balangay, a Malay word meaning "sailboat".
The term barangay was adopted and barangay structure defined in the modern context during the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos, replacing the old barrios and municipal councils. The barangays were eventually codified under the 1991 Local Government Code. The word "barangay" was derived from an ancient Malayo-Polynesian boat called a balangay.
Historically, the first barangays started as relatively small communities of around 50 to 100 families. By the time of contact with Spaniards, many barangays have developed into large communties. The encomienda of 1604 shows that many affluent and powerful coastal barangays in Sulu, Butuan, Panay, Leyte and Cebu, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Pasig, Laguna, and Cagayan River were flourishing trading centers. Some of these barangays had large populations. In Panay, some barangays had 20,000 inhabitants; in Leyte (Baybay), 15,000 inhabitants; in Cebu, 3,500 residents; in Vitis (Pampanga), 7,000 inhabitants; Pangsinan, 4,000 residents. There were smaller barangays with less number of people. But these were generally inland communities; or if they were coastal, they were not located in areas which were good for business pursuits. These smaller barangays had around thirty to one hundred houses only, and the population varies from one hundred to five hundred persons. According to Legazpi, he found communities with twenty to thirty people only.
Theories, as well as local oral traditions, say that the original “barangays” were coastal settlements formed as a result of the migration of these Malayo-Polynesian people (who came to the archipelago) by boat from other places in Southeast Asia (see chiefdom). Most of the ancient barangays were coastal or riverine in nature. This is because most of the people were relying on fishing for supply of protein and for their livelihood. They also travelled mostly by water up and down rivers, and along the coasts. Trails always followed river systems, which were also a major source of water for bathing, washing, and drinking.
The coastal barangays were more accessible to trade with foreigners. These were ideal places for economic activity to develop. Business with traders from other Countries also meant contact with other cultures and civilizations, such as those of Japan, Han Chinese, Indian people, and Arab people. These coastal communities acquired more cosmopolitan cultures, with developed social structures (sovereign principalities), ruled by established royalties and nobilities.
During the Spanish rule in the Archipelga, smaller ancient barangays were combined to form towns. Every barangay within a town was headed by the cabeza de barangay (barangay chief), who formed part of the Principalía - the elite ruling class of the municipalities of the Spanish Philippines. This position was inherited from the first datus, and came to be known as such during the Spanish regime. The Spanish Monarch ruled each barangay through the Cabeza, who also collected taxes (called tribute) from the residents for the Spanish Crown.
When the Americans arrived, the term barrio went into prominence, as the barangays were called by that name. The term was kept for much of the twentieth century until President Ferdinand Marcos ordered the renaming of barrios back to barangays. The name has stuck ever since, though some people still use the old term. The Municipal Council was abolished upon transfer of powers to the barangay system. Marcos used to call the barangay part of Philippine participatory democracy. Most of his writings involving the New Society which he envisioned, praised the role of baranganic democracy in nation-building.
After the EDSA Revolution and the drafting of the 1987 Constitution, the Municipal Council was restored, making the barangay the smallest unit of government in Philippine politics.
The modern barangay is headed by an elected official, the Punong Barangay (barangay chairman/captain), who is aided by Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council) members (barangay 'kagawads' or councilors), also elected. Barangay elections, while non-partisan on paper, are typically hotly contested. The barangay captain is via simple plurality (no runoff voting) while the councilors are elected via plurality-at-large voting with the entire barangay as a single at-large district: each voter can vote up to seven candidates, with the seven candidates with the most number of votes being elected. Typically, a ticket usually consists of one candidate for barangay captain and seven candidates for the councilors. Elections for the post of Punong Barangay and barangay kagawads are usually held every three years starting from 2007, unless suspended or postponed by Congress.
The barangay is governed from the barangay hall. A barangay tanod/barangay police (watchman) forms policing functions within the barangay. The number of barangay tanods differ from one barangay to another; they help maintain law and order in the neighborhoods throughout the Philippines.
Barangays are led and governed by its barangay officials. The "barangay officials" are considered to be Local Government Unit (LGU), similarly to the Provincial and the Municipal Government. Barangays are composed of a Punong Barangay, seven (7) Barangay Councilors or Barangay Kagawad, and a Youth Council or Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Chairman which is considered as a member of the Council. Thus, there are eight (8) members of the Legislative Council in a barangay. Each member has its own respective committee where they are Chairmen of those committees. The Committees are the following: (1) Education Committee, (2) Peace and Order Committee, (3) Appropriations, Finance and Ways and Means Committee, (4) Health Committee, (5) Agriculture Committee, (6) Tourism Committee, (7) Infrastructure Committee, and (8) Youth and Sports Committee. There are three (3) appointed members of each committee. The Barangay Justice System is composed of members commonly known as "Lupon Tagapamayapa" (Justice of the peace) which function to conciliate and mediate disputes at the Barangay level so as to avoid legal action and relieve the courts of docket congestion.
- There exists a union of barangays in the Philippines: the Liga ng mga Barangay (English: League of Barangays), more commonly referred to by its previous name, Association of Barangay Captains (ABC). Representing all 41,995 barangays, it is the largest grassroots organization in the Philippines. Its current president is Rico Judge "RJ" Echiverri, son of current Caloocan City Mayor Enrico Echiverri.
- The term "barangay" may also refer to a very large number or group of people. An example is the name given to the supporters of the Ginebra San Miguel basketball team, Barangay Ginebra. In 1999, the team was renamed Barangay Ginebra Kings in homage to its fans.
- Constantino, Renato. (1975) The Philippines: A Past Revisited (volume 1). ISBN 971-8958-00-2
- Mamuel Merino, O.S.A., ed., Conquistas de las Islas Filipinas (1565–1615), Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, 1975.
- ^ Philippine Standard Geographic Code Summary. Accessed on March 22, 2007.
- ^ Zaide, Sonia M. (1999), The Philippines: A Unique Nation, All-Nations Publishing, pp. 62, 420, ISBN 9716420714 , citing Plasencia, Fray Juan de (1589), Customs of the Tagalogs, Nagcarlin, Laguna, http://www.filipiniana.net/Search.do?searchString=%20Plasencia,%20Juan%20de
^ Junker, Laura Lee (2000), Raiding, Trading, and Feasting: The Political Economy of Philippine Chiefdoms, Ateneo de Manila University Press, pp. 74, 130, ISBN 9789715503471, http://books.google.com/?id=Lbsfi30OXgMC ISBN 9715503470, ISBN 9789715503471.
- ^ During the early part of the Spanish colonization of the Philippines the Spanish Augustinian Friar, Gaspar de San Agustín, O.S.A., describes Iloilo and Panay as one of the most populated islands in the archipelago and the most fertile of all the islands of the Philippines. He also talks about Iloilo, particularly the ancient settlement of Halaur, as site of a progressive trading post and a court of illustrious nobilities. The friar says: Es la isla de Panay muy parecida a la de Sicilia, así por su forma triangular come por su fertilidad y abundancia de bastimentos... Es la isla más poblada, después de Manila y Mindanao, y una de las mayores, por bojear más de cien leguas. En fertilidad y abundancia es en todas la primera... El otro corre al oeste con el nombre de Alaguer [Halaur], desembocando en el mar a dos leguas de distancia de Dumangas...Es el pueblo muy hermoso, ameno y muy lleno de palmares de cocos. Antiguamente era el emporio y corte de la más lucida nobleza de toda aquella isla...Mamuel Merino, O.S.A., ed., Conquistas de las Islas Filipinas (1565-1615), Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, 1975, pp. 374-376.
- ^ Cf. F. Landa Jocano, Filipino Prehistory: Rediscovering Precolonial Heritage (1998), pp. 157-158, 164
- ^ Cf. Maragtas (book)
- ^ The Cultural Influences of India, China, Arabia, and Japan
- ^ "Local Government Code of the Philippines". Chan Robles Law Library. http://www.chanrobles.com/localgov.htm. .
- Katarungang Pambarangay Handbook
- Liga ng mga Barangay (League of Barangays)
- Liga ng mga Barangay NCR / Barangay Congress
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Defunct and historical
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