Bohol first district representative, Rene L. Relampagos, joined the call of the House of Representatives to increase the honoraria currently received by barangay officials.
As the family is the basic social unit, barangay is the basic political unit. Good family equals good governance equals progress. Bad family equals poor governance equals destruction. Barangay governance makes or breaks a community, said a statement from the first district solon.
Barangay councils are relatively rare in the world. In most countries, the lowest elected officials are the city or municipal councils. In Western Europe, it seems that only Portugal has elected barangay councils called ‘parish’ councils. Bohol is politically subdivided into 47 municipalities and one component city further subdivided into 1,109 barangays. There are more than 49 thousand barangays in the whole country.
This makes barangays all the more special in the whole governance picture. Relampagos recognizes that constituents look up to barangay officials as head of communities as much as parents and guardians are head of the families. Barangays serve as the main planners and implementors of government plans, programs and projects in the community.
Relampagos said that with a reasonable number of constituents, barangay officials are better able to give public service, respecting culture and social peculiarities, where it is most needed. They are more reachable and more knowledgeable with the issues of the community. He emphasized that barangays are often the first level of everything related to governance, public service, law enforcement, dispute resolution, rescue and relief operations, even fights against illegal drugs.
“However,” the lawmaker added, “barangay officials are most often overworked and underpaid. This is a fact. Barangay governance work is a 24/7 job. In most cases, responsibilities of barangay officials do not equal the compensation they receive.”
The proposed bill seeks to ameliorate the economic conditions of barangay officials and properly compensate them for their services to their constituents. In the current set-up under the Local Government Code, barangay officials receive an honoraria equivalent to P 1,000 for barangay chairman and P 600.00 for other barangay officials. This is way below any regional minimum wage standard.
If passed, the proposed measure will increase the honoraria received by barangay officials equivalent to the prevailing minimum wage in the region concerned for the barangay officials and with a 20 percent premium for barangay chairpersons. Barangay officials would include all barangay secretaries, treasurers, tanods and lupong tagapamayapa members.
“Like all families, we have to make sure that the heads of our families remain competent and be given what is due them. We cannot just take and take. Justice and fairness dictate that we also recognize their service,” he said. “And as we head to an important political exercise in May, let us be circumspect in choosing who we want to head our communities, our families”, said Relampagos.