CEBU CITY -- Giving regular salaries and benefits to barangay officials will empower them to perk up delivery of basic priority services down to the grassroots in the country’s 42,045 villages, the top presidential aide in the Visayas on Monday said.
Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, said that if Senate Bill No. 391 filed by Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go becomes a law, it will give barangay chairpersons, members of the Sangguniang Barangay, chairpersons of the Sangguniang Kabataan, secretaries and treasurers regular salaries, emoluments, allowances such as hazard pay, representation and transportation allowance, and 13th month pay.
“Nakita talaga ni Senator Bong Go na dapat ma-empower natin kayong mga opisyal ng barangay dahil kayo naman talaga ang naghahatid ng ating (Senator Bong Go sees the need to empower barangay officials because you are the the ones giving our) frontline services at the grassroots level,” Dino said in a message he delivered to presidents of Association of Barangay Councils (ABCs) in the country attending the second national assembly of the Liga ng mga Barangay (LNB) at the Waterfront Hotel in this city.
Dino said Go discovered during his frequent visits to communities that barangay officials are the “immediate provider of frontline services to our fellow countrymen”.
Go, however, found in his consultation with the village officials in the country that barangay executives and their staff members are just dependent on the honorarium, as compared to other government officials and employees as well as private workers who are enjoying regular salaries and benefits allowed by law, Dino said.
The bill, he added, is relevant to the barangay affairs as it seeks to outline basic priority services aligned with the directive of Duterte to give the Filipino people comfortable life.
“The bill outlines the basic priorities in each barangay to have regular supply of clean and potable water, to have readily available means of public transportation, and the entitlement of every barangay to schools, health centers and barangay halls,” he said.
With the President’s fight against illegal drugs, corruption and criminality, village executives will be empowered under the bill to appoint more barangay "tanod" (village watchmen) who will ensure peace and order in their area, Dino said.
If the bill becomes a law, each barangay can hire more than the 20 village watchmen as required by the existing regulation of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, he said.
Dino also said that he supports the idea of retaining the existing leadership of the LNB if the postponement of the elections to 2022 becomes final. (PNA)