“Nagkakaisang Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas, Tumatahak sa Daang Matuwid”

28 September 2012

Speech-Liga-ng-mga-Barangay-sa-PilipinasSpeech of Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos
National Convention of the Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pililipinas
SMX Convention Center, Reclamation Area,
Pasay City

Magandang umaga sa inyong lahat mga kasapi sa Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas. Muli akong nagpapasalamat sa inyong lahat sa pag-anyaya ninyo sa akin na makadalo sa inyong National Convention bilang inyong Panauhing Pandangal at Taga-pagsalita sa umagang ito. Ito ay isang karangalan para sa akin at isang pagkakataon na makapulong ko kayong lahat sa aking pagka Chairman ng Committee on Local Government sa Senado ng Pilipinas.

Let me congratulate you all for the theme you have chosen for your convention today “ Nagkakaisang Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas, Tumatahak sa Daang Matuwid”.

If you will recall, when I spoke before you last year, a little more than a year ago today, I reviewed with you and took you along a revisit of the Local Government Code of 1991 and the consequent complications of local autonomy, experienced over the past 21 years, presenting to you the historical, geographical and socio-political reasons for the crafting of this landmark legislation, aimed at a decentralized system of governance, recognizing the diverse conditions obtaining in a archipelagic country like ours, and taking into account the 1987 Philippine Constitution guaranteeing the local needs be well attended to or taken care of.

In last year’s forum we took note of the fact that the implementation of local autonomy had not been as successful and as smooth as expected due to the existence of local and national problems that downplayed the intensive and extensive devolution processes. Among these were, if I may repeat, the socio-political concerns like rising incidence of crime, corruption and uncertainties of clear future directions, not to mention economic growth factors.

In addition we took note of the issue of readiness and /or capabilities of the local government units, like the Barangay, to exercise new responsibilities in response to the greater autonomy granted them under the local government code, which include the provisions of basic services to their constituents and the management of natural resources and, most important of all, the task of planning for their local boundaries, which imply good financial support, skilled human resources and the concommitant infrastructure back-up.

If I may reiterate , let me bring back one important insight I brought before you in my speech last year. And this is the fact that even though the barangay is the smallest political unit in our government structure, yet it is acknowledged as the most powerful one as it is the most basic in a democratic governance structure.

And if I have to prove this, your executive power includes enforcing of laws and ordinances; as presiding officer in the Sangguniang Barangay, you are dispensing power as legislator by enacting ordinances; and as head of Punong Tagapamayapa, you are exercising a Quasi-Judicial power having the authority to mediate and amicably settle disputes between or among members of the barangay.

Friends in government, mga kasama sa Liga ng mga Barangay, I am now on my third year as the Chair of the Committee on Local Government in the Senate, and I should be honest enough to admit that since my last plenary dialogue with you last year, I can see that you have shown noticeable improvement in your ability, although in varying degrees, to successfully advance reforms necessary to substantially improve and put in place the practice of good governance in your respective barangays.

And if I may make an observation, this is due to acknowledged effective leadership of the late Secretary Jesse Robredo of the Department of Interior and Local Government, with whom I had the opportunity and privilege to work with these past two and half years since I was elected as Senator of the Republic and assigned the Chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Local Government. With all the fitting tributes and accolades given to the late DILG Secretary, to which I fully concurr, I can honestly claim that my task as Chair of the Local Government Committee was made easier and more pleasant, to say the least. Indeed Secretary Jesse is a loss not only to local governance in the Philippines but more so to the “Pagtahak sa Matuwid na Daan”, not only by the bureaucracy but by all the local governments in the country, provincial, municipal and barangay.
Why do I say this ? Let me enumerate some of the more salient accomplishments that had been achieved under the stewardship of Sec. Robredo at the DILG, particularly where barangays are concerned.
First, As reported by Sec. Robredo in the 2011 DILG annual report, a good majority of LGU’s have internalized the practice of transparency and accountability. The report indicated that 57.7 percent or 24,269 of the 42,026 barangays all over the country made available to the public their budgets, statement of income and expenditures, annual procurement plans and other financial transactions. Having been a local government executive myself, I should congratulate these some 25,000 barangays for this feat of transparency and accountability. Such full disclosure indeed helped in ensuring that government resources are used responsibly and effectively.

Second, In measuring the performance and capacity of LGU’s in the area of development work, according to the same DILG report, around 1,904 barangays, following the initial implementation of the Barangay Governance Performance Management System (BGPMS), came up for the first time with their State of Barangay Governance Reports (SBGR). This resulting barangay reports provided the cities and municipalities that exercise supervision over them a closer look at prevailing situations in component barangays.

Third, still in the aspect of capacity-building among LGU’s, especially among the barangays, the DILG report cited the Barangay Newly Elected Officials (BNEO) Program Component 2: Laying the Foundation trainings conducted by the Local Government Academy (LGA), which covered 37,740 barangays, resulting in the training of about 321,264 barangay official. As a positive consequence of this training, some 30,130 of these barangays formulated the so-called “Barangay AGAD” the acronym for: Barangay Agenda for Good Governance and Development.

Fourth, With the onset of more natural disasters linked to climate change, it was also reported that approximately 849 barangays are now beginning to address their efforts towards disaster preparedness by way of orientation seminars and trainings, not to mention the provinces and municipalities that have likewise faced up to the challenges of disaster management and risk reduction.

Fifth, In the area of public safety and security, the “Pulis Nyo Po or PNP for short sa Barangay” of the Philippine National Police has helped improve the crime efficiency rate among barangays by the deployment of one (1) policeman for each barangay called the Pulis sa Barangay (PSB), who presently serve as the conduit between the community and the police unit charged with the effective execution of barangay-based public safety services. For whatever it is worth, this security input into the barangay governance system certainly is a plus!

Finally, we come once again to the matter of electoral automation; RA 9319 mandates that an automated election system be applied to the national and local elections, including election on the barangay and sangguniang kabataan levels. This will certainly help in bring about cleaner and more credible elections, minimizing fraud and corruption in the electoral process.

By the way, at this point in time, let me remind you that through the initiative of the DILG, a number of awards and incentives have been initiated under the DILG which, I believe, have also contributed to the upgrading of the capabilities of our barangay officials and members. Let me mention some of them: a) The SIGLAT MO Award in the Cordillera Region; b) the Search for Most Outstanding Barangay, Barangay Executive, Sangguniang Barangay, Barangay Treasurer and Barangay Secretary Award under the acronym BESTS; c)the Seal of Good Housekeeping for Barangay Government ; d) the Barangay Challenge Fund.

Ladies and Gentlemen, If in this speech I went to the process of enumerating all the above headways made in ensuring the success of local autonomy and improved local governance, it is to demonstrate to you that with your continued cooperation and increasing passion for effective and efficient governance, especially at the barangay level, at kung tayong lahat ay magkakaisa sa landas na ito, mas sigurado tayong matatahak ng ating bayan ang “Matuwid na Daan”.

Let me conclude by enjoining all of you to further enhance the gains that have been made in barangay governance.

As I stated in the earlier position of this speech, you the barangays maybe the smallest unit of local governance, but you are the most powerful, as it is on your level that the process of nation-building starts.

At uulitin ko po ang paniwala natin: Ang barangay ay kaluluwa at susi sa epektibong implementation ng autonomiya, siya rin ang pundasyon at haligi ng demokrasya at serbisyo publiko.

Kayong mga opisyal at mga miembro ng Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas, kayo ang naka front-line. Kayo rin po ang tunay na gamut at sustansya sa isang matibay at matatag na Republika.
On your level rests the foundation for a true and lasting edifice of a solid democratic nation.

Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat! Ipagpatuloy ninyo ang tagumpay at kaunlaran ng inyong mga barangay sa ika-uunlad ng ating bansang Pilipinas.
Mabuhay ang Liga ng mga Barangay!