Benefits that barangay (village) officials are getting under pro-visions of the Local Government Code are not commensurate to their duties and functions, according to a lawmaker.
The provisions enumerating benefits and privileges for the barangay officials “leave much to be desired,” Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian of Valenzuela City (Metro Manila) on Sunday said, adding that their political jurisdiction may be small but their duties are expansive.
Under the law, village officials including village watchmen and members of the peace board are entitled to honoraria, allowances and other emoluments as may be authorized by law or village, municipal or city ordinance “but in no case shall it be less than one thousand pesos per month for the [village chief]and six hundred pesos per month for the [council]members, [treasurer]and [secretary].”
During incumbency, they are also entitled to insurance coverage and free medical care in any government hospital or institution provided that such includes surgery or surgical expenses, medicines, X-rays, laboratory fees and other hospital expenses.
In case of emergency where there is no available government hospital or institution, the village official concerned may submit himself for immediate medical attendance to the nearest private clinic, hospital or institution and expenses not exceeding P5,000 that may be incurred are chargeable against village funds.
They are also exempted from paying tuition and matriculation fees for their children who attend state colleges or universities, and may also avail of such educational benefits in a state college or university within the province or city where the barangay is.
Gatchalian proposed an increase in the emoluments that village chiefs receive that shall be not less than P5,000 a month under House Bill (HB) 5245.
Village council members, village youth council chairman, village treasurer and village secretary shall receive not less than P3,000 a month and village watchmen and members of the peace board shall receive not less than P2,000 per month in benefits, under the proposed measure.
HB 5245 also aims to change the at least P1,000 in Christmas bonus provided by law for the village chief, village council members, village treasurer and village secretary.
The measure provides that the Christmas bonus shall be at least P2,000 each for village chiefs, village treasurer, village secretary and members of the peace board.
Barangay officials shall also have a P1,000-each hazard duty pay during incumbency; another P1,000 for representation and transportation allowances; productivity incentive bonus of the same amount and; clothing allowance of P1,000 per year.
“A microcosm of the government, which by itself is authorized to enact laws, enforce them…, the barangay officials are on-call 24/7 for the welfare of their constituencies,” Gatchalian said.
“If we are to effectively give to local government units the self-sufficiency that the government envisions, we must be able to provide the conditions conducive to a productive leadership,” he added.