People drive in heavy traffic in Manila, Philippines


This research report reviews and analyses The Philippines’ planning and urban development policy documents for the last twenty years, identifying the key ideas and policies that have shaped the delivery of public services, paying particular attention to education and healthcare.

This report also presents city profiles for two of The Philippines’ cities: Manila and Batangas.

Report written by University of the Philippines Planning and Development Research Foundation, Inc. (PLANADES)

Key messages

This report explores the characteristics and drivers of urbanization in the Philippines and how major policies have affected the development of the country’s major cities. It also describes how the relationship among urban development, health, education, livelihood, and migration have manifested in the Philippines.

The report also describes how institutions and the policy environment have considered the concepts of social, economic, environmental sustainability in urban governance, and how the case study cities of Manila and Batangas have come to exhibit these interventions.

Urban planning in the Philippines is a shared responsibility of national and sub-national levels of government but local governments are considered to be the key in urban development. Urban planning follows a hybrid of top-down and bottom-up approaches.

The country now espouses a decentralized approach to health care after long years of having integrated care from national down to the district level. In this arrangement, the private sector plays an active, if not, a dominant role in health services delivery.

In the educational scene of present day, quality education remains as the most pressing problem. The low quality of education provided by the government has resulted to the increasing rise of private schools that are able to solve for the problems confronting public schools resulted again to a spatial and socio-economic divide when it comes to educational services delivery and outcomes.