By Chito Chavez
Recognizing their public service during the emergency crisis, the Department of the Interior and Local Government said on Saturday that the families of all barangay tanods (village security officers) and barangay health workers in the country are now entitled to receive benefits mandated under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) of the national government.
DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya
(PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)
DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Bautista issued a memorandum on Friday approving the recommendation of the DILG for the inclusion of these barangay frontliners in the SAP program.
Malaya thanked Bautista for approving the DILG recommendation and “for listening to the appeal of our village workers for them to be also given financial aid given to those affected by the pandemic."
“It is the appeal of this department that the nature of appointment of barangay health workers and barangay tanods should not outrightly disqualify them from being included in the target beneficiaries under the SAP, particularly the emergency subsidy program,” Malaya noted part of the DILG letter.
Malaya said the barangay tanods and health workers are not regular employees but only receive allowances from the barangay at rates dependent on the financial capacity of the barangay.
“Therefore, since they only receive allowances, they are sub-minimum wage earners, which refers to any person who earns a wage below the prescribed minimum wage,” Malaya said.
"Karamihan po sa ating mga tanod at health workers ay head of the family (most of the barangay tanods and health workers are heads of the family) and they only receive more or less P1,000 as allowance from the barangay. Since they are below the poverty line, they should be included among those to be given SAP, subject to the proper screening of the DSWD,” he added.
Malaya also added that as frontliners in the war against COVID-19 the sacrifice of village workers must be recognized by the government.
“The BHWs (barangay health workers) compose our BHERTS (Barangay Health Emergency Response Team), they are our first responders. The tanods implement the quarantine in the community. It is just right that they be given financial assistance since they are there in the frontlines together with our police, firemen, LGUs (local government units), and medical professionals,” he said.
Meanwhile, Malaya clarified those excluded from the village’s list of beneficiaries but have low or no income and no independent financial capability may file an appeal with the municipal or city social welfare and development officer.