Citing the tremendous duties and responsibilities of barangay officials, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Thursday, October 17, pushed for the provision of regular salaries and benefits for barangay officials during the Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting on Local Government joint with Ways and Means; Finance; Government Corporations and Public Enterprises; and Civil Service, Government Reorganization and Professional Regulation.
In his opening statement, Go emphasized the important roles of barangay officials in the community.
“As the most basic unit of governance in the country, the barangay serves as the primary planning and implementing unit of government policies, plans, programs, projects, and activities in our communities,” Go said, adding that government programs reach their intended recipients via barangays.
“It is through our barangays that government programs and services reach our people. It is through our barangays that our policies, plans and projects aimed at improving our country materialize. Most importantly, it is in our barangays that we hone dutiful citizens who will become the future builders of our nation.”
The senator also recounted his interactions and experiences working with barangay officials in Davao City.
“Tulad nga ng kuwento ko dati, ang mga barangay captains sa Davao, mga suki ko ‘yan dahil umaga pa lang nandoon na sila sa opisina, hanggang sa pag-uwi namin sa gabi, nandoon sa hagdan, handang magsilbi sa kanilang mga nasasakupan.”
Despite their hard-work, Go bemoaned that barangay officials remain “underappreciated”, urging him to push for a measure that will provide for the Magna Carta for Barangays.
“Our barangay officials have always been underappreciated, only receiving honoraria and some benefits, instead of a regular salary, hazard pay, and other allowances granted to other government workers,” Go told.
“It is for this reason that I have filed SB 391, which provides for the Magna Carta for Barangays,” he further said.
SB 391, or the Magna Carta for Barangays Act of 2019, seeks to “further strengthen the barangays, recognizing their critical role as the country’s basic political unit and frontliner in the delivery of government services.”
However, during the discussions, the proposed SB 391 was transformed into the Barangay Services Compensation Act which will provide for additional compensation as benefits to barangay officials.
While the proposal is being deliberated in the Senate, Go said that he will suggest to President Rodrigo Duterte the provision of cash incentives to barangay officials in December to show his support for them. If funds are available, cash incentives will also be granted to them in midyear 2020.
“I will suggest to President Duterte that our Barangay officials be given cash incentives this December while we await the passage of the law.”
Ending his statement, Go said that it is time to show appreciation to barangay officials who serve as the foundation of governance in the country.
“Our barangays are not on autopilot. They are manned by these hard-working and dedicated individuals who, despite their seemingly thankless job, are committed to ensuring that our barangays serve the purpose they are intended for,” Go said.
“It is high time we recognize their efforts and hard-work. Sila ang nagsisilbing pundasyon ng ating pamahalaan. Sa ating mga barangay nag-uumpisa ang kaunlaran ng ating bansa,” the senator said.