MANY of those who trooped to the village polls to cast their votes on Monday did so in the hope of finding honest and dedicated public servants to run their barangays, the smallest government unit.
In San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan, for instance, Norma Aliman, Virgilio Capuno and Pol Zabala of Barangay Narra, Francisco Homes Subdivision, expressed hopes that they chose such officials after casting their votes on Monday.
Aliman, a career executive service officer at the Civil Service Commission, said that a barangay official should not be tainted with corruption and should take his or her job seriously.
“I want somebody honest, would come to work everyday and ensure that services are provided to the residents of our barangay. You can be a cum laude but it doesn’t mean you would make a good public servant,” said the 67-year-old Aliman.
Barangay officials should also keep illegal drugs and criminals out, she said.
“The installation of more lights could be the first step. I want to walk in a neighborhood where I feel safe 24/7,” Aliman added.
Sixty-five-year-old Capuno and his wife Lolita agree that barangay officials must be of good character, must attend to their duties diligently and implement projects that would benefit the community. For a small barangay like theirs, it is fortunate that they know the character of those running for barangay posts.
Capuno said that he chose political neophytes—retired professionals but who are still healthy.
“Since they are now retired, they really have the time to serve,’ he explained.
Zabala, 26, said that barangay officials should have the political will to implement a curfew for those under 18 years of age and ban people from drinking liquor on streets and in sari-sari stores during the night.
“We need people in the barangay to do these things to ensure peace and order. But we have to remember that this kind of efficient service starts with officials’ complete attendance during barangay sessions and council meetings,” Zabala, a Criminology graduate, added.
A P1,000 monthly allowance for barangay tanods (barangay security forces) is being proposed in Congress by Reps. Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro City and Maximo Rodriguez Jr. of Abante Mindanao party-list.
Under House Bill 2447, each barangay is entitled to a maximum of 10 barangay tanods with a P1,000 monthly allowance.
This is separate from any other form of remuneration that the barangay tanods may receive from their respective cities/municipalities.
“This measure will encourage the tanods to be more vigilant and enthusiastic in their duties in deterring crime, considering that they can be utilized as sources of intelligence for the PNP by forwarding any and all information on suspicious persons and activities in their respective barangays,” the Rodriguez brothers said in their proposal.
They cited the recent bombing in Cagayan de Oro, which could have been averted if the tanods were properly utilized in intelligence gathering.
They added that their proposal is in accordance with Section 393 of the Local Government Code which allows barangay officials, including barangay tanods, to receive honoraria, allowances and such other emoluments, as, may be authorized by law or ordinance.
Under the bill, the Department of the Interior and Local Government is mandated to issue rules and regulations necessary for the proper implementation of the proposed act, in consultation with the Liga ng mga Barangay.