By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Francis Tolentino has asked the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to create a separate position classification for barangay workers so they could be regularized and granted their “well-deserved” benefits.
Tolentino raised the proposal during the technical working group (TWG) meeting Thursday of the Senate Committee on Local Government for the proposed Magna Carta for Barangay Workers.
Tolentino, committee chairman, said the creation of the job classification will allow the DBM to allocate a portion of the national budget’s funds for the wages and incentives of village workers in the 41,976 barangays of the country.
The local government panel is poised to come up with a consolidated bill containing the various proposals for a magna carta for barangay workers.
Tolentino, for his part, has pushed for the immediate release of these benefits once the bill is passed into law.
His proposed SB 215 or Barangay Workers Incentives Act, seeks to recognize barangay officials as regular government employees and as such, shall be covered by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) under which they will receive life insurance and retirement, disability, separation, and unemployment benefits.
They shall also get free health benefits as part of the government medical insurance under existing laws.
The measure also seeks to grant village officials the authority to decide and provide other benefits for their employees, depending on their financial capacity.
Instead of a salary grade level, the senator proposed the creation of a “barangay service compensation” item in the DBM’s employee classification.
“Although considered the closest government officials to the people, they are the most underappreciated among the government employees in terms of salary as well as employment benefits and privileges,” Tolentino said.
“It is only right that the State duly recognizes these employees by granting them well-deserved benefits and incentives,” he added.