The newly elected president of Laguna’s Liga ng mga Barangay today vowed to push for amendments to the Local Government Code so that a Magna Carta for Barangay Captains and other officials may be enacted by Congress, giving more opportunities for barangay officials to take an active part in development works in their respective communities.
Lorenzo “Boy” Zuniga Jr. who just won Laguna’s top post as chief of the Liga’s 674-strong barangay federation, says that a Magna Carta will empower barangay captains and other officials and recognize them as an essential agents for change in their areas.
He is the barangay chairman of San Ildefonso, Alaminos, Laguna.
One of the things Zuniga wants enacted is a law giving fixed monthly salaries to barangay chairmen instead of mere honorarium. Such a move will give proper recognition to the efforts of barangay captains and lessen corruption.
The 57-year-old Ateneo-bred economist expects broad support from other provincial chapter presidents of the LnB when they meet for the annual election of the Liga National directorate sometime soon.
Zuniga believes that instead of waiting for economic gains to trickle down to the grassroots, every barangay should strive to be self-sufficient and cause development to happen in their territories.
“Development should start with us, in the grassroots by our own efforts. We should not wait or rely on the National Government.
As what our President Benigno Aquino [3rd] says, change should happen in us. A Magna Carta which will outline how barangay captains and officials will enhance their participation in developmental works, is necessary for our people to feel progress in their communities,” Zuniga adds.
The proposal starts with the systematic classification of barangay similar to the classification of municipalities and cities, from first to fifth class, fifth class as the lowest.
The lowest class barangay or those whose annual budget cannot support the salaries of the barangay chairmen will receive financial subsidy from the national, provincial or local government.
The proposed salary applies only to those barangay chairmen
who are receiving below minimum wage and it will be indexed on the basis of the minimum daily wage as determined by the respective regional wage boards or the Department of Labor and Employment.
The passage of the law gives due recognition to the most overworked yet underpaid public servants in government service.
Zuniga is an Economics graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University with extensive experience in banking and finance, construction and mining is a first term barangay chairman of San Ildefonso, Alaminos, Laguna. He won Laguna’s top post after a one-on-one showdown with another bet.