House of Representatives of the Philippines
Congress of the Philippines (Filipino: Kongreso ng Pilipinas) is the national legislature of the Philippines. It is a bicameral body consisting of the Senate (upper chamber), and the House of Representatives (lower chamber), although colloquially, the term "Congress" commonly refers to just the latter.
The Senate is composed of 24 senators half of which are elected every three years. Each senator, therefore, serves a total of six years. The senators are elected by the whole electorate and do not represent any geographical district.
In the ongoing 18th Congress, there are 304 seats in the House of Representatives. The Constitution states that the House "shall be composed of not more than 250 members, unless otherwise fixed by law," and that at least 20% of it shall be sectoral representatives. There are two types of congressmen: the district and the sectoral representatives. At the time of the ratification of the constitution, there were 200 districts, leaving 50 seats for sectoral representatives.
The district congressmen represent a particular congressional district of the country. All provinces in the country are composed of at least one congressional district. Several cities also have their own congressional districts, with some having two or more representatives. From 200 districts in 1987, the number of districts has increased to 243. Every Congress has seen an increase in the number of districts.
The sectoral congressmen represent the minority sectors of the population. This enables these minority groups to be represented in Congress when they would otherwise not be represented properly through district representation. Also known as party-list representatives, sectoral congressmen represent labor unions, rights groups, and other organizations. With the increase of districts also means that the seats for party-list representatives increase as well.
The Constitution provides that Congress shall convene for its regular session every year beginning on the 4th Monday of July. A regular session can last until thirty days before the opening of its next regular session in the succeeding year. The President may, however, call special sessions which are usually held between regular legislative sessions to handle emergencies or urgent matters.
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