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HW: Different Systems (Forms of Governance) Implemented by the Spaniards in the Philippines

From 1565 to 1898, Spain reigned over the Philippines. Since Spain was far from the
country, another Spanish colony which was Mexico, ruled the Philippines through the viceroy of
Mexico. However, in 1821, Mexico regained its freedom so the Spanish king ruled the
Philippines through a governor general. It is a special government body that oversees matters.
Spain established a centralized colonial government in the Philippines that was composed
of a national government and the local governments that administered provinces, cities, towns,
and municipalities. With the participation of both of the governments, they maintained peace and
order, collected taxes, and built public works.
The national government was composed of the following: Governor General, Residencia,
Visita, and the Royal Audiencia. The highest-ranking official in the Philippines was the Governor
General. The role of the governor general is to supervise all government offices and the
collection of taxes. The Governor General exercised certain legislative powers. He issued
proclamations to facilitate the implementation of laws. The Residencia was a special judicial
court that investigates the performance of a Governor General who was about to be replaced. The
Visita observed the conditions in the colony. The Royal Audiencia served as an advisory body to
the Governor General and had the power to check and report his abuses.

The local government was composed of the following: Provincial Government and
Municipal Government. The Provincial Government was created to facilitate the countrys
administration. There were two types - the alcaldia, governed the provinces that had been fully
subjugated, and, the corregimiento, governed the provinces that were not yet entirely under
Spanish control. The alcalde mayors represented the Spanish kind the governor general in their
respective provinces. In the Municipal Government, provinces were divided into several towns
headed by the Gobernadorcillos whose main concerns were efficient governance and tax
collection. The Gobernadorcillo: Teniente Mayor (Chief Lieutenant), Teniente de Policia (Police
Lieutenant), Teniente de Semantras (Lieutenant of the Fields), and the Teniente de Ganados
(Lieutenant of the Livestock).
This form of governance was led to a system which we know as the Encomienda
System which was brought in the Philippines. King Philip II instructed Miguel Lopez de
Legazpi to divide the Philippines into large territories called encomiendas which will be left to
the management of the designated enconmenderos. The enconmenderos were only territorial
overseers who had the duty to protect the people in the encomienda, maintain peace and order,
promote education and health programs, and help the missionaries propagate Christianity. The
enconmiendas were not there to own. However, they had the right to collect taxes.

References:
Philippine History. (n.d.). The Spaniards as Colonial Masters in the Philippines. Retrieved July
5, 2014, from http://www.philippine-history.org/spanish-colonial-masters.html
Teaching History. (n.d.). Politics in the 17th Century. Retrieved July 5, 2014, from
http://mananalaysay.blogspot.com/2010/07/politics-in-17th-century.html

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