Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte. (PNA file photo)

MANILA -- Several lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Friday pushed for a measure that would provide barangay officials with fixed salaries and other benefits enjoyed by regular government employees.

ACT-CIS Party-list Representatives Edvic Yap, Jocelyn Tulfo and Jeffrey Soriano; Benguet Rep. Eric Yap, Quezon City Rep. Ralph Tulfo, and Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte filed House Bill 502, which seeks to provide a fixed salary for barangay officials and declare them as regular government employees to receive just compensation and other benefits that government employees receive.

The lawmakers said the barangay serves as the office of the first resort of the people, and its officials are expected to address a number of issues apart from their regular duties and responsibilities.

“It is high time that our barangay officials be given what is due for them and recognize their vital role in carrying out government activities to the communities,” they said in the bill's explanatory note.

They said that as the basic political unit, the barangay serves as the primary planning and implementing unit of government projects, programs, and policies.

"In fact, most of the national government’s efforts require intervention and support of the barangay as they are the closest form of government to the people," they said.

Aside from fixed salaries, the bill also provides that barangay officials must be covered by the Government Service Insurance System, PhilHealth, and the Pag-Ibig Fund benefits.

They said that under the present system, the barangay chairperson and members of the barangay council are receiving compensation in the form of honorarium and not a fixed salary within the compensation system that will provide just remuneration for their wide range of roles and responsibilities. (PNA)