By Mario Casayuran | Manila Bulletin
Should the government spend initially some P5.2 billion to pay for the retirement of barangay officials and health workers?
To Sen. Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., chairman of the Senate local government committee, the answer is “yes (it should)’’ as he asked Congress to swiftly pass his barangay-related measure.
Barangay officials and workers serve ”in the front lines, delivering basic and other public services, (but) they are only receiving measly benefits,’’ Marcos said.
Marcos, son of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, sponsored on the Senate floor last week committee report No. 30, endorsing the approval of Senate Bill No. 12 titled “An Act Providing Barangay Officials, including Barangay Tanods, Members of the Lupon ng Tagapamayapa, Barangay Health Workers and Barangay Day Care Workers A Retirement Benefit.”
The measure might be taken up when the Senate and the House of Representatives, now on a six-week sine die adjournment that started last Thursday, go back to work at the opening of the second plenary session of the 16th Congress on July 28.
The bill provides a retirement pay of P100,000 for each qualified barangay chairman, P80,000 for each member of Sangguniang Barangay, and P50,000 for each barangay treasurer and secretary, barangay tanod, member of the Lupon ng Tagapamayapa, and barangay health and day care worker.
In his speech, Marcos cited data from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) where there are 1,849,232 incumbent barangay officials nationwide.
The Marcos bill stated that a barangay official or worker must be at least 60 years old and with at least nine years of service to be eligible to receive the retirement benefit.
Based on these criteria, the DILG’s National Barangay Operations Office has determined that as of June 7, 2013, some 95,616 are qualified for the benefit out of 1,849,232 barangay officials and workers in the country.
The government needs P5.2 billion to pay for the retirement of the initial number of qualified officials and workers.
As funding source for the monetary benefit, the measure proposed the creation of the Barangay Retirement Fund, which shall be established through annual investments with an amount equivalent to one percent of the share of the national government in the IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment).
The DILG, according to the Marcos bill, shall administer and ensure the appropriate disbursement of the fund.
“Considering the noble objective of this measure, may I respectfully encourage my fellow members in this august chamber to join this representation in pushing for its enactment,” Marcos said.