By Mario Casayuran
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go said on Monday it was high time that barangay officials be treated as regular government employees receiving benefits that regular 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 said after filing Senate Bill 391, or the Magna Carta for Barangays.
The Go bill was taken up in on Monday’s public hearing by the Senate Committee on Local Government chaired by Senator Imee R. 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 providers of frontline services to our fellow countrymen,’’ Go said.
“And it is because of this reason that we have to further improve the barangays and address the woes of our barangay officials,’’ he added.
Go said that this role played by barangay officials in the communities prompted him to push for a Magna Carta for barangay officials.
He said his bill outlines the basic priorities in each barangay, such as the right of every barangay to have regular supply of clean and potable water; to have readily available means of public transport; and the entitlement of every barangay to schools, health centers and barangay halls.
“The Punong Barangay, members of the Sangguniang Barangay, the Sangguniang Kabataan chairperson, the barangay secretary and 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 Duterte’s on-going war against illegal drugs, corruption and criminality, the bill allows for an appointment of additional barangay tanods by the Punong Barangay upon the concurrence of the majority of the Sangguniang Barangay members,” the senator said.
“This will ensure the maintenance of peace and order in the barangays. Surely, the security and safety of our countrymen must be met firstly in their immediate communities. This measure hopes to address that,” Go added.
Go reiterated his commitment to improving the welfare of barangay officials.
He said that barangay officials must be recognized so that they could continue to be more productive in carrying out their mandate.