Local Governments in the Philippines

Local government, in its simplest sense, is government that is specific to a particular locality.

For example, a village, district, town, city, or county.

More particularly, it is a form of government that has no share in sovereignty, and is thus entirely subordinate to central authority - or, in a federal system, to state or regional authority.

It is the lowest level of elected territorial organization within a state, whether federal or unitary. Broadly, local governments have a twofold task:

  1. to provide local public services such as garbage collection, health services, etc. and;
  2. to implement national welfare policies.

However, their role has evolved since the 1980s with the trend toward involving communities more and more, particularly in local policy making. In addition, in many unitary systems, including that of the Philippines, the trend is to decentralize responsibility to the lower levels of government. Hence there is renewed interest in local governments worldwide.

Conceptualized by: Dr. Maria Ela Atienza (Professor and Chair), Asst. Prof. Jan Robert Go (Assistant Professor), and Herby Jireh Esmeralda (Research Assistant)


Atienza, Maria Ela. “Local Governments and Devolution in the Philippines.” In Philippine Politics and Governance, edited by Noel Morada and Teresa Encarnacion Tadem, 415-425. Quezon City: Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines Diliman, 2006.

Heywood, Andrew. Politics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.