Dignified salaries for barangay officials assured

March 29, 2022 People's Tonight 206 views

PUBLIC servants tasked to look after the welfare of citizens in smaller communities deserve regular salaries and benefits, not just honoraria, and this is what presidential candidate Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson is prepared to deliver once he receives the mandate to lead the executive branch of government.

Lacson and his running mate Senate President Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III believe their Senate Bill 366 or the Magna Carta for Barangay Officials will elevate the status of village leaders and council members, who are rendering essential community services for their constituents.

While their proposed legislation is yet to be deliberated upon, Lacson and Sotto said their flagship Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment (BRAVE) would be enough to cover the needs and priorities of barangay officials and their folks through their local government units (LGU).

The issue on the honorarium of village leaders was discussed over the weekend when Lacson and Sotto held a town hall meeting in Barangay 165, Malibay, Pasay City. One of the participants sought clarification on Executive Order 138 or the government policy on the Mandanas Ruling.

“Solusyon din diyan, sinasabi namin ni Tito Sen, ‘yung BRAVE. Bibigyan kayo ng mas malapad na papel on top of the Mandanas Ruling, on top of IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment), mayroon talagang alokasyon para sa mga local government units down to the barangays,” Lacson said.

EO 138 entails the full devolution of certain functions of the executive branch to the LGUs, as well as the creation of a Committee on Devolution, to implement the Mandanas Ruling—a Supreme Court decision that automatically releases local government shares from national taxes.

Lacson acknowledged the benefits of this policy, but he had some issues based on his assessment. “Ang problema lang diyan, ibinaba ‘yung pondo, katakut-takot naman ‘yung obligasyon. Sinobrahan ‘yung responsibilidad kaya parang zero-sum ang suma-total,” he said.

Speaking of ‘responsibility,’ Sotto bequeathed to senatorial candidate Guillermo ‘Guilor’ Eleazar—who was with them in Pasay City—the responsibility of re-filing and sponsoring SB 366, should he get elected as well as member of the 19th Congress, so it won’t languish in the legislative mill.

“Kailangan i-refile ni General Eleazar ito pagka inupo niyo ito—siya mag-cha-champion. Mayroon po kaming finile file na Magna Carta for Barangay Officials and other officials ng barangay. ‘Yun po yung magbibigay sa inyo hindi na honorarium kundi regular na sahod,” Sotto said.

Lacson and Sotto are likewise aiming to develop capacity-building programs for local village chieftains and other officials to make them better equipped in handling administrative duties for their respective communities to improve their services.