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Poblacion or población (literally "town" or "population" in Spanish; Tagalog pronunciation: [pobläˈʃo̞n]) is the common term used for the central, downtown, old town or central business district area of a Philippine city or municipality, which may take up the area of a single barangay or multiple barangays. It is sometimes shortened to "Pob."
During the Spanish rule, the colonial government adopted the Reducción policy. This resettlement process coerced inhabitants of far-flung scattered ancient barangays to move into a centralized cabecera (town/district capital) where a newly built church was situated. This allowed the Spanish government to control the movement of the indigenous population, to easily facilitate Christianization, to conduct population counts, and to collect tributes.
The población is considered the commercial and industrial center of the city or municipality. Most citizens of a city or municipality residing in the outlying barangays and satellite sitios flock to the población on market days (which is set by a local ordinance of the local government) because most local products and goods from the barrios are brought to the public market located in the población. In this way, their products could be sold faster by a wide range of buyers, though there are instances where some citizens would choose to go to another town's poblacion because it is closer to their residence. In some cities and towns, the población (usually the areas surrounding the parish church) doubles as the old town district which features a few remaining Spanish-built structures in the country.
The cabecera (or the población of a municipio/pueblo) has a basic plan, with a plaza mayor, church and attached convento, civic buildings such as the town hall, and houses of prominent Spaniards. Other features include the public market, the central elementary school and high school, Police Station, and Hospital.
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