The Philippines is a democratic country where regular elections are held to elect its officials from the president
down to the members of the barangay council. Since its founding as the first Asian country with a republican form of government, it
has adopted several constitutions. The present constitution was ratified in 1987 under the administration of President Corazon C. Aquino.
The government has three main co-equal branches: executive, legislative and judiciary. The executive branch is headed by a president
who also acts as the head of state. The legislative branch is the Congress of the Philippines and is composed of two houses: the upper house is the
Senate and the lower house is the House of Representatives. The judicial branch is composed of the Supreme Court and the lower courts namely: Court
of Appeals, Regional Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts, Court of Tax Appeals, and the Sandiganbayan which is a special anti-graft court.
The barangay is the smallest political unit of the Philippine government. Several barangays compost a municipality or a city. Several
municipalities and cities in turn make up a province. For administrative purposes, the country is divided into 17 regions. Each region is
composed of several provinces. Philippine cities are either component cities of the provinces where they are located or independent cities
whose charters prohibit its electorates from voting the provincial officials.
The Philippines is an active member of several international organizations notably the United Nations (UN), Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN), World Trade Organization (WTO), and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).