Barangays should be run like businesses

Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

I voted in our barangay elections as early as seven in the morning. I am excited about this elections as well as I am about the presidential elections.

Very early, I woke up to the noises made by my neighbors walking by my house. They were the poll watchers for the different candidates getting last-minute instructions. Some neighbors were cleaning up posts and fences of posters and other campaign materials. Some are getting ready to position themselves at the corner to give away flyers, sample ballots and other last-minute campaign paraphernalia.

There was a jeepney available to bring voters to the school where our polling places are. I asked who was spending for the jeepney, and they said it was a neighbor who owns the jeepney and has so generously volunteered it to make the trip from our barangay to the polling places (which consists of a five-minute walk and 10-minute commute, one way) more comfortable, and to encourage voters to go to the polls.

Hmmmmmm makes sense. Although, I still suspect that somebody, a candidate or group of candidates perhaps, sponsored the free ride. Thank you. There were other neighbors who used their car and accommodated other neighbors.

During the campaign period, the candidates wined and dined my neighbors; I was told that some even gave money. One candidate was giving pan de sal on election day. Previously, he visited some neighbors and gave away pork barbecue. He tried to give me a liter of softdrink, but I refused and told him jokingly that he was so cheap and my vote cost more than that. He did not insist.

I asked every candidate their plans for managing the rather big internal revenue allotment (IRA) of our barangay, and for serving our needs. Nobody has any concrete or creative plan at all. Their campaign centered on personalities of their opponents and themselves, nothing for the barangay. Haaaaaaaaaay!

The atmosphere was very festive. I personally know most of the candidates by face and by name. I know who they are, what they do for a living (most are jobless or self-employed as electrician, plumber or carpenter, or are rank-and-file workers) and during their leisure time, what they usually have for breakfast, lunch and dinner (they pass by my house on their way to and from the talipapa [wet market]), what they wear everyday, what their houses look like, inside and outside. I know their spouse, children and parents even other relatives.

In other words, from what I observe I know their personal vision, mission and values. I could also second guess their goals and aspirations, and why they are so eager to get elected. It is not only the power and the financial gain, and not exactly to serve our barangay. They are simply clueless. The concurrent chairman has done nothing for our barangay except to offer free coffee during the flooding brought about by Typhoon Ondoy and the habagat (southwest monsoon). Otherwise, we seldom saw him in our barangay. I expect to see him drive a new car anytime soon now.

Our newly elected barangay chairman is jobless. Previously he was a kagawad in charge of monitoring the CCTV. I see him practically living (spending most of his time inside the barangay hall, even sleeping there). I am not sure if his wife works. One thing going with him is that he is very helpful and responds to complaints with speed. No sign of leadership competencies here, just being “nice.”

What about your barangay? Are we looking forward to clean, safe and progressive communities led by service-oriented neighbors, or will we just wait for the next elections to get rid of the scalawags?

Barangays should be ran like businesses with the people as the major stakeholder. But, do our barangay leaders have the competencies, the right values, and commitment to develop and lead burgeoning communities? Our barangay and our leaders need our prayers and active involvement.


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