Tagalog - Sociopolitical Organization



The head of state in the Republic of the Philippines is a president ( pangulo ). There are two legislative houses (one elected by district and the other at large) and a series of appointed courts and judges with a supreme court at the summit.

Social Organization. Tagalog society seems to have a strongly kinship-based set of parameters, although nonkin are generally incorporated in networks of reciprocal obligation and interaction. There are horizontal class distinctions based on wealth and closeness to economic resources and political power, which are crosscut vertically by genealogical and ritual ties of kinship so that the lower and upper classes are linked at various levels into a series of pyramidal (but illdefined) networks. Their boundaries and internal relationships are constantly being rearranged.

Political Organization. The Tagalog-speaking area (Katagalugan), as part of the Philippines (Bayan ng Pilipinas), is divided into provinces (singular, lalawigan ), each with an elected governor and legislative body. Provinces are divided into municipalities (singular, bayan or munisipyo ). One of the municipalities is designated provincial capital. Each municipality has an elected mayor and council. There is usually a central area (also called the bayan or munisipyo) where municipal business is carried on, with an administration building, frequently a market, and religious center. The municipality is divided into segments called baryo, nayon, or baranggay. These basic units have had an elected head since the middle 1950s called tiniente del baryo, who was promoted to kapitan del baryo a few years later. There is also an elected baryo council representing subdivisions called sitio or pook. At each level police, education, public works, etc. are managed by presidential appointees.

Social Control. Aside from the legal system and police functions, most Tagalog communities outside the urban centers operate according to local custom similar to the adat found elsewhere in insular Southeast Asia. Local officials exert power insofar as they are personally respected and have influence with people involved in disputes. Ostracism and ridicule are often used as means for social control.


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