Bong Go highlights importance of empowering barangays; files measures to promote their welfare and capacitate them towards effective public service delivery
SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go emphasized the significance of empowering barangays as the country’s fundamental unit of governance in order to bring government closer to the populace for more efficient public service delivery. He stressed further the need to strengthen collaboration between the national government and the barangay units to ensure that no Filipino is left behind in development.
During the General Membership Assembly of the Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas on Wednesday, January 25, held at Holiday Inn Newport, Pasay City, Go underscored the significant role that barangay officials play in their respective communities, highlighting the necessity of empowering them to ensure that they can continue to provide efficient access to government services for the people they represent.
“Talagang naiintindihan ko po ang trabaho ng isang kapitan. Kaya I’m here to support you in my own small capacity. Tutulong po ako sa ating mga barangay officials, sa inyo sa Liga ng Barangay,” said Go in his message during the event.
In 2019, former president Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11462, which sets the next barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections from the second Monday of May 2020 to December 5, 2022, and then on the first Monday of December 2025 and every three years thereafter. The law extends the term of the current barangay and SK officials from two years to four years and a half. Go was one of the authors of the measure.
In 2022, Go likewise supported the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections to 2023. Among the reasons cited for the postponement of the elections include allocating the funds for the polls to the COVID-19 response instead, giving teachers time to recover following the recent national elections, and avoiding two “divisive” polls in a year.
“Kasama si Senator Imee (Marcos) noong 2019, pangako ko po sa inyo na susuportahan ko po ‘yung postponement ng barangay election. Ngayon, two years lang ang natitira sa inyo kaya pinostpone to 2022 para madagdagan ‘yung termino ninyo para ma-implement ‘yung mga programa,” explained Go.
“Hindi inaasahan, dumating ‘yung COVID, kinain na naman ‘yung termino ninyo kaya po pinostpone noong October. Sinuportahan rin po natin ‘yon,” shared the senator.
Go also sought to recognize the efforts of barangay officials by providing them with similar benefits given to regular government employees. This prompted him to file Senate Bill No. 197 which if enacted, would provide a Magna Carta for Barangays. He also filed Senate Bill No. 427 which seeks to mandate the provision of allowances and incentives to barangay health workers.
Under the proposed SBN 197, barangay officials will be treated as regular government employees. The Punong Barangay, members of the Sangguniang Barangay, the Sangguniang Kabataan chairperson, the barangay secretary and barangay treasurer will be entitled to salaries, emoluments, allowances such as hazard pay, representation and transportation allowance, 13th month pay and other benefits that regular government employees enjoy.
The Sangguniang Barangay will also be given the authority to determine the appropriate number of barangay tanods needed with permanent status during the administration of the Sangguniang Barangay which appointed them. They will likewise be entitled to honoraria, allowances and other benefits.
Furthermore, if the measure is passed into law, all barangays will enjoy basic priorities, such as construction of at least a facility for drawing drinking water for every 1,000 residents; public transportation by asking government agencies to require public utility companies to provide minimum means of transportation; and at least a kindergarten, an elementary school for every barangay, and a high school for every five kilometers from the barangay center; a health center and a barangay hall.
Their share from various taxes shall also be directly released to them without need for further action. All public funds from the National Treasury for the maintenance of barangay roads and bridges and similar construction works should also be transferred to the barangays’ general fund.
SB 427, on the other hand, seeks to provide a monthly allowance of PhP3,000 to all barangay health workers. They will also be entitled to benefits and privileges and security of tenure.
The bill proposes to mandate the appointment of at least two BHWs per barangay. More may be appointed based on the number of households in the barangay and upon the recommendation of the Department of Health as long as the number of BHWs will not exceed 1 percent of the population of the barangay.
Other benefits and privileges enumerated in the bill include leave benefits, Civil Service Eligibility, Christmas bonus, among others. BHWs will also be entitled to GSIS, PhilHealth and PAG-IBIG benefits.
Go reiterated that barangay officials bear a heavy responsibility to help spur development in their locality so they should be provided with compensation comparable with the pay rate of regular government employees.
“Basta isusulong ko po kung anong makakabuti para sa inyo,” he said.
“Basta isa lang po ang pakiusap ko sa inyo. Huwag n’yo pong pabayaan ‘yung mga kababayan natin, mga kabarangay ninyo. Kayo po ang takbuhan kaya naiintindihan ko talaga ang trabaho ng isang kapitan,” added Go.
Ending his message, Go urged all barangay officials to continue providing excellent service to their constituents. He also assured them of his unwavering support.
“Tandaan po natin, minsan lang po tayo dadaan sa mundong ito. Kung anumang kabutihan o tulong na pwede natin gawin sa ating kapwa, gawin na po natin ngayon dahil hindi na po tayo babalik sa mundong ito,” said Go.
“Ako po na inyong Senador Kuya Bong Go na patuloy na magseserbisyo sa inyo. Katulad kay dating pangulong Duterte, binigyan n’yo po ako ng pagkakataon na makapag-serbisyo. Patuloy ako na magseserbisyo sa inyo sa abot ng aking makakaya dahil ako po ay naniniwala na ang serbisyo po sa tao ay serbisyo po ‘yan sa Diyos,” he concluded.