By Chito Chavez
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) now expects the newly elected barangay executives in the country’s 41,948 barangays to have made significant accomplishments and impact in their respective turfs after assuming their posts in June 2018.
The statement was issued as the current barangay officials will be holding their second Barangay Assembly this month since assuming their post on June 30 last year.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said barangay executives should be able to present their plans that they would report to their constituents when they hold their respective Barangay Assembly this month.
“Walong buwan na po mula nang mahalal kayo ng inyong mga botante. Sana po’y meron na kayong makabuluhang naisakatuparang programa, proyekto o ordinansa at mga planong iuulat ninyo sa inyong komunidad (It has been eight months since they were elected by their voters. I hope they have now made worthy programs, projects, or ordinance and plans that you plan to report to your constituents),” Año said.
In this regard, DILG Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Dino said the department welcomes any legitimate complaints against barangay officials who have committed nefarious acts while in power.
He assured the public their complaints will be treated with extreme confidentiality and will be acted on after due process.
The DILG undersecretary urged the citizens not to cower in fear, saying that corrupt, unprincipled and crooked barangay officials, especially those involved in illegal drugs, carjacking and other major crimes, should not remain in power even one second longer.
The holding of Barangay Assembly every March and October is mandated by Section 397 of the Local Government Code of 1991 or the Republic Act No. 7160.
The law requires that there shall be a Barangay Assembly composed of all persons who are actual residents of the barangay for at least six months, at least 15 years of age, citizens of the Philippines and duly registered in the list of barangay assembly members.
The DILG issues a Memorandum Circular (MC) every semester to remind punong barangays on the conduct of the Barangay Assembly Day.
In the past years, the specific dates in March and October are set by the MC issued by the department stating when the barangays are expected to conduct their respective barangay assemblies.
But in October last year, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation No. 599 declaring Saturdays and Sundays of March and October of every year as Barangay Assembly Days.
All barangays in the country must hold their respective barangay assemblies for each semester on any of the aforesaid days.
What to report to the people
Año asked the punong barangays to deliver their State of Barangay Address (SOBA) highlighting their accomplishments and financial report for the second semester of 2018, newly-enacted barangay ordinances, and their plans, programs and projects for 2019.
Barangay executives are urged to discuss barangay compliance on national laws and issuances such as the functionality of the Barangay Anti – Drug Abuse Councils (BADACS), the segregation and collection of solid wastes and the creation of Barangay Ecological Solid Waste Management Committee (BESWMC), observance of Barangay Full Disclosure Policy, and registration of domestic workers in the Registry of Domestic Workers in the barangay as ordered by Batas Kasambahay.
Also, barangay chiefs are encouraged to report on the constitution and organization of barangay-based institutions namely the Barangay Development Council (BDC), Barangay Peace and Order Committee (BPOC), Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction Management Committee, Lupong Tagapamayapa, Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC), and Violence against Women (VAW) Desk.
“For barangay within the Manila Bay Watershed Area, they are prodded to urge their barangay residents to participate in clean-up drive of esteros, waterways, and tributaries within the barangay,” said Año in MC No. 2019-32.
Make use of social media
For more active participation and wider audience for Barangay Assemblies, the DILG chief urged barangay officials to utilize the social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, to inform and remind the residents of the activity.
He also directed the DILG field offices to promote among barangays the use of live streaming of Barangay Assembly, through Facebook Live, and to post pictures and videos of the Assembly in social media using the hashtag #barangayassembly2019.
Año pointed out that there shall be a corresponding administrative complaint against barangay officials who fail to conduct a barangay assembly.
The grievance may be filed by any resident of the barangay, concerned citizen, governmental or non-governmental entity before the sangguniang panlungsod or sangguniang bayan concerned pursuant to Section 61 of the Local Government Code or to the Office of the Ombudsman pursuant to Administrative Order No. 07 or the “Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman,” dated April 10, 1990.
According to the DILG National Barangay Operations Office, 40,613 or 96.61 percent of 42,029 barangays nationwide conducted Barangay Assembly in October 2018.
The theme of the Barangay Assembly Day for the first semester of 2019 to be conducted on any of the Saturdays or Sundays of this month is “Barangay Natin, Sama-Samang Paunlarin!”