As with the 1977 PSGC, the 1996 Philippine Standard Geographic Code maintained the following features:
Stability of the Coding Structure
Stable Hierarchical Levels. The PSGC is based on the established hierarchical levels of the political structure in the government. The coding scheme holds true for as long as the country maintains the region, province, municipality and barangay in the political hierarchy as units of classification. A region will always contain provinces or its equivalent as described in Section 4.3; a province, the municipalities; and a municipality, the barangays. Thus, the code structure is considered stable.
Flexibility. It is recognized that the political boundary lines may have to be redefined from time to time, depending upon the progress of overall development and growth of the communities. The coding structure while stable must be flexible enough to accommodate such changes. In the Philippine Standard Geographic Code, the stable inter-levels (i.e., province and municipality) are treated independently from the less stable region and barangay. In this manner, shifting of provinces from one region to another is readily reflected in the coding scheme without restructuring the code nor changing the whole code number for the province.
Expandability. Most codes easily become obsolete because they do not provide sufficient room for expansion. The standard geographic code provide for such requirement. For the province level, the code allows up to 99 and the last entry as of December 31, 1996 is 81 for the province of Apayao. Similarly, the municipality level code also runs up to 99 and the highest entry so far is 53 (for the Municipality of Tudela, Province of Cebu). For the barangay level, the code allows up to 999 for each municipality. For the region level, while there are only 16 regions at present, the code allows for as many as 99 regions. This coding scheme provides sufficient room for expansion at all levels and at the same time fixes the total number of digits in the coding structure to the barest minimum.
Simplified Management of the Code
Centralized Updating. If there are different autonomous codes on geographic classification used by the various government agencies, then the updating of each code will have to be done independently of the others. If there are seven independent coding schemes, then one event for updating (e.g., the creation of a municipality) will have to be captured by the seven different agencies in order to update their respective code masterfiles. The whole process is quite tedious, and subject to a lot of errors. In the Philippine Standard Geographic Code, updating is centralized through the Code Administrator. Updating entries and/or
Accuracy in the updating is assured. Centralized updating also insures that all government agencies have the same version of the code all the time.
Inter-related Statistics on an Inter-Agency Basis
Integrability with Other Systems. The Philippine Standard Geographic Code provides the inter-link for diversified information about a given locality. Such pieces of statistical data about a given place could be data elements of information systems maintained by different agencies. These systems could be interrelated with one another if there is a common link and this link is the standard geographic code.
Promote the Development of Data Bases and Information Systems. Gradually, the different agencies in the government are moving towards computer-based information systems. With a facility for compatibility of systems, the different agencies will then have better opportunities for the development of data bases. The accumulation of data on a functional basis could be done at different echelons by the different agencies. This mass of data could be retrieved from existing information systems and pooled in a data bank. The standardization of the geographic code is an initial step towards this direction.
Added Features of the 1996 PSGC
In order to make it more useful to the users, the Department of Finance (DOF) classification of provinces and municipalities by size of income and the COMELEC-based Legislative District and the NSO rural-urban classification were incorporated in the 1996 PSGC. This was done by placing the income class codes (e.g.., 1st for first class, 2nd for second class, etc.), and the legislative district (1st for first district, 2nd for second district, etc.)