SEN. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Monday said it was high time that barangay (village) officials be treated as regular government employees receiving benefits that government employees enjoy.
“Barangay officials are our government’s frontliners — first to respond, first to provide and first to serve. Despite this, they receive simple honoraria for their services,” Go noted after filing Senate Bill (SB) 391 or the “Magna Carta for Barangay.”
The bill was taken up in Monday’s public hearing by the Senate Committee on Local Government headed by Sen. Maria Imelda Josefa “Imee” Marcos.
The committees on Ways and Means, Finance, and Government Corporations and Public Enterprises joined the Marcos committee in discussing the Go measure.
“We all know that the barangay and its officials are the immediate provider of frontline services to our fellow countrymen,” Go said.
“And it is because of this reason that we have to further improve the barangay and address the woes of our barangay officials,” he added.
Go said this role played by village officials in the communities prompted him to push for a Magna Carta for barangay officials.
He added that his bill outlines the basic priorities in each barangay such as the right of every village to have regular supply of clean and potable water; to have readily
available means of public transport; and to have schools, health centers and barangay halls.
“The punong barangay (village chief), the members of the Sangguniang Barangay (Village Council), the Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) chairman, the barangay secretary and the barangay treasurer will now be entitled to salaries, emoluments, allowances such as hazard pay, representation and transportation allowance, 13th month pay and other benefits,” Go said as he cited key provisions of SB 391.
“In line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s ongoing war against illegal drugs, corruption and criminality, the bill allows for an appointment of additional barangay tanod (village watchmen) by the punong barangay upon the concurrence of the majority of the Sangguniang Barangay members,” the senator added.
“This will ensure the maintenance of peace and order in the barangay. Surely, the security and safety of our countrymen must be met first in their immediate communities. This measure hopes to address that,” Go said.
Go reiterated his commitment to improving the welfare of barangay officials.
He said barangay officials must be recognized so that they could continue to be more productive in carrying out their mandate.