A new district was created in the Philippines on October 18th. The Baler Philippines District was organized from four branches (Baler, Dipaculao, Maria, and San Luis Branches). Baler is a small city located on the eastern side of the island of Luzon, home to half of the Philippines 92 million inhabitants. The number of branches in the Baler area has grown from just one in 2001 to four today. Before the new district was organized the branches were not a part of a stake or district. The Baler Philippines District becomes the first new district organized in the Philippines since the Sogod Philippines District in early 2007. There are now 79 stakes and 86 districts in the Philippines.
One new stake was also organized earlier this year in the Philippines in Sagay. The Philippines is the country with the most districts, with one out of every seven districts in the Church located in the Philippines. The reason for the large number of districts in the Philippines is due to high inactivity and the inability for members of the Church to travel far for Church meetings and conferences. We will likely see many districts mature into stakes in the near future as the Church focuses on strengthening the many districts in the country.