Congress (Philippines)

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The Congress of the Philippines (formerly Batasang Pambansa , Spanish Congreso de Filipinas ) is the national legislation of the island state . It is a bicameral parliament , consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The Senate corresponds to the British House of Lords and consists of 24 Senators , half of which are elected by the whole every three years. They therefore do not represent a geographical unit and have a term of office of six years.

The House of Representatives consists of up to 250 MPs who have either a geographical or a sectoral function. The former represent a specific area of ​​the state. Each province consists of one or more such districts , of which larger cities also form one with two or more representatives.

The sectoral parliamentarians represent the ( ethnic ) minorities of the population who would not be represented by a purely geographical division of the country. There are also members of so-called party lists who represent various labor, legal and other organizations.


The first legislative assembly in the Philippines was the Malolos Congress, 1898–1899. This passed the Malolos constitution on January 21, 1899 ; on January 23, he confirmed the establishment of the first Philippine Republic . After Spain had to cede the Philippines as a colony to the USA in the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine-American War broke out on February 4, 1899, the Schurman Commission was appointed by President William McKinley . This worked out recommendations that provided for a rapid transition from a military to a civil administration of the Philippines. Among other things, it provided for the formation of a bicameral parliament. After the end of the first republic in 1901, the Taft Commission established a civil administration on July 4, 1902. However, it was not until October 16, 1907 that this bicameral parliament was completed. The Senate formed the Taft Commission and the House of Representatives formed the Philippine Assembly . This system was maintained until 1916 and when the Philippine Autonomy Act came into force , the parliament called the Philippine Legislature was elected, which consisted of the Senate and the House of Representatives and whose members were only Filipinos. This system was maintained for 19 years. On May 1, 1934, the Philippine Independence Act came into effect, creating the Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1935 . However, parliament has been reduced to a unicameral legislative legislature; this parliament was called the Commonwealth Congress . After the Second World War and the independence of the Philippines, on July 4, 1946, the parliament was converted back into a bicameral system. This parliament was converted into a unicameral system in 1972 after martial law was declared on September 26, 1972 and the constitution was abolished by Ferdinand Marcos . After the EDSA revolution in 1986 ended the dictatorship of Marcos, the constitution of the fourth republic was passed in 1987 and today's parliament was established with a Senate and House of Representatives.

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