OBLIQUE OBSERVATIONS

By Atty. Gilberto Lauengco, J.D.

“The smallest part is worthy of the whole.”- Elsie De Wolfe

On Feb. 28, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) promulgated its latest resolution regarding the calendar of activities for the Oct. 30 synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections specifying the time for filing of certificate of candidacies (COC), campaign period, voting period and other related matters.

This resolution, for some people, signals the start of the final preparations for the said barangay elections. Strangely, this news and even the elections itself, seem to have garnered little interest for most people. This is unfortunate because the results of this barangay elections will be very significant in the next years to come.

The barangay is the most basic local government unit in our country. It is the primary planning and implementing unit of government policies and programs. Under our laws, the barangay officials are vital cogs in any government initiative. Most government programs must begin or end with the barangay officials. Specifically, under the Local Government Code, the barangay officials are mandated to take the lead in delivering several vital services and initiatives of the most important or priority programs of the government.

One of the government’s priority areas of development is agriculture. The barangay officials are the ones mandated to take the lead in government agricultural initiatives on the ground in coordination with the municipal agriculture office. Barangay officials are supposed to take the initiative in facilitating agricultural support services such as planting materials distribution systems and operating farm produce collection and buying stations. Without the cooperation of barangays, most agricultural programs will be unsustainable.

There have been several private individuals and organizations who have answered the call to participate in programs geared to improve the lot of farmers, fisherfolk and MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) all over the country. Some of these organizations and individuals enter into social enterprise partnership with cooperatives or association providing capital, technical expertise or logistical access.

Most of these individuals and organizations coordinate with national agencies only. While coordination with national agencies is also essential, these initiatives will be implemented at the barangay level. As such, coordinating with the barangay officials is necessary to properly execute fully these programs.

Problems arise if the absorptive capacity of the barangay officials is not sufficient to meet the demands of these initiatives. What is worse is if the barangay officials are obstructive for one reason or another. Capable and cooperative barangay officials are, therefore, necessary for both government and private programs.

In a few months, the barangay elections will be held again. It is imperative that the right officials get elected for many of our programs to push through. Perhaps it is time for private individuals and organizations to show more interest in these elections. Perhaps it is time to participate and do more.

This is my oblique observation.

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in the foregoing article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) or any other office under the Presidential Communications Office.

About the Columnist

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ATTY. GILBERTO LAUENGCO, J.D. is a lawyer, educator, political strategist, government consultant, Lego enthusiast, and the director of CAER Think Tank. He is a Former Vice Chairman of MECO, Special Assistant of NFA and City Administrator among others. His broad experience has molded his unique approach to issues analysis which he calls the oblique observation.