The primary unit in the hierarchy of Philippine local government is the barrio. The term, barrio, is employed to describe any and all sub-units of the municipalities which lie outside the poblacion (municipal center) as well as sub-divisions of some of the smaller chartered cities. This double use of the term leads to confusion, for the rural barrio differs considerably from a barrio located within an urban or semi-urban area. The latter closely resembles a ward or precinct in a small American city, while the former is more akin to the prototype of an Asian village. In this paper, barrio will be used only in reference to the rural units and where mentioned is made of barrios which are city units, the distinction will be made.

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