SENATOR Ferdinand Marcos Jr., vowed to pursue the extension of the terms of office of barangay officials and Sanguniang Kabataan (SK) members to five years from the current three years.
In the 15h Congress, Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government and author of Senate Bill 3296, or the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Official Term Act of 2012, filed a bill seeking the extension of the officials’ terms, but the bill failed to make it through.
Marcos said in a speech before barangay officials and workers at a gathering in Rodriguez, Rizal, he will actively pursue its passage under the next Administration.
The Committee has received “mixed signals” from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on the passage of the bill, Marcos said.
“We initially wrote the DILG about this bill and at first, they were supportive, but in the subsequent correspondence, we received no reply from them,” he said.
Marcos explained that the DILG’s support is crucial to the bill’s passage because it is the agency that will implement it should it be enacted into law.
Marcos had filed the bill extending the term extension for barangay officials and members of the SK in 2012 in response to a clamor from the officials themselves.
He said the three-year term is quite short for the village officials to effectively implement their programs and projects for their respective areas.
“A longer tenure would also enable the Comelec to save at least P16 billion from the term extension. For every barangay and SK elections, the government spends around P8 billion so that in a 15-year period when only three elections are held under a five-year term instead of five, the government will save around P16 billion which can be used for other social services,” Marcos said.
The Senator also authored Senate Bill No. 12, which gives P100,000 in retirement benefits to each qualified barangay chairman; P80,000 to members of the Sangguniang Barangay; and P50,000 to each barangay treasurer and secretary, barangay tanod, member of the Lupon Tagapamayapa and barangay health and day care workers.
To qualify, a barangay official or worker must be at least 60 years old and with at least nine years of service. Some 95,616 barangay officials and workers are qualified to receive the benefit as of June 2013, the latest data available, according to the National Barangay Operations Office.