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The Punong Barangay, commonly known as the Barangay Captain and less commonly Barangay Chairman, is the highest elected official in a barangay, the smallest of the elected administrative divisions of the Philippines. Sitios and puroks are sub-divisions of barangays but their leadership is not elected. As of September 2012, there are 42,028 barangays and therefore 42,028 barangay captains. 
The current position is just lates form of a position that has been known by various names in the past, such as Cabeza de Barangay, Barrio Lieutenant, and Barrio Captain.
Along with the Barangay Kagawad, or Barangay Councilors, the captains are members of the Sangguniang Barangay, or Barangay Council and perform many official government duties. They also work informally with a number of organizations. They are viewed as the village elders. They also perform some minor judicial functions as part of Barangay Justice System, such as handling disputes between neighbors.
They are elected for three-year terms. The 2013 Philippine barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections will be held in October 2013.
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While the current set-up is relatively recently, the position of barangay captain as a long history, pre-dating Spanish colonization. During the Spanish era, the position was known as the Cabeza de Barangay, or "head of the barangay". The position was not elected, however.
At the beginning of the American Colonial Period the position was renamed Barrio Lieutenant. Under the Adminstrative Code of 1917, passed by the Philippine Assembly, these too were not elected but rather were appointed by and under the supervision of the city councillor for the barrio. Councillors were elected at that time by electoral districts. Barrio lieutenants received no pay or other compensation. The lieutenant was to assist the city councillor and his term ended when the councillor's term ended.
During the American colonial period and after independence barangays were known as barrios and barangay captains were known as barrio lieutenants.
In 1991, the current position took shape as the result of the Local Government Code.
Relation to other governments 
Local government hierarchy. The dashed lines emanating from the president means that the President only exercises general supervision
on local government.
Here is table showing the number of provinces, municipalities, cities, and barangays in Philippines.
||Head of Administration
||Barangay Chairman/Barangay Captain
||Punong-Barangay/Kapitan ng Barangay
See also