RECOGNIZING the huge roles barangay officials and volunteers play in ensuring that the government’s delivery of basic services could reach even those living in far-flung areas especially during times of crisis and disasters, presidential candidate Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. has assured thousands of village executives over the weekend that their needs and concerns will be given priority after he is elected in the scheduled May 9 elections.
Marcos made the pledge during his speech at the 3rd membership assembly of the Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas held at SMX Convention in Pasay City, during which he also said that under UniTeam’s leadership, equal opportunities and treatment will be cascaded down to the barangay level.
“Kahit gaano kaganda at gaano kahusay ang serbisyo na ibinibigay ng national government kung hindi (dahil sa maayos na pamumuno) ng mga barangay officials, hindi mararamdaman ng taumbayan iyan. Dahil kayo (mga opisyales ng barangay) ang nagdadala mula sa Maynila hanggang doon sa inyong mga bara-barangay,” he said.
“Kayo ang nakaharap sa tao. Hindi kayo nakakaramdam ng weekend, walang Sabado, walang Linggo, walang holiday, walang bagyo, kung kailangan kayo, lumalabas kayo at tumutulong. Kaya’t iyan ang sa aming palagay ang pinakamahalagang bahagi ng ating pamahalaan. ‘Yung trabaho ng barangay official ay dapat kilalanin,” he added.
Marcos said he and his running-mate Inday Sara Duterte, understand the local government’s problems and hardships as both of them have previously served their provinces as local officials.
“Kung mabigyan po kami ng pagkakataon na makaupo, eto pong paglalapit, pagpantay ng national government at local government, ang pagkilala sa ating mga barangay officials, sa halaga ng inyong trabaho na para sa ating pamahalaan at sa taumbayan ay lagi naming aalalahanin at nauunawaan namin sa aming karanasan bilang local government officials,” he elaborated.
“Ang inyong pinagdadaanan, asahan po ninyo, may kakampi kayo sa aming dalawa ni Inday Sara,” Marcos declared.
He reiterated the need for the national government to listen to the suggestions and recommendations of barangay and local officials to address all problems in their localities.
Marcos also mentioned that the barangays will benefit more from the Mandanas Ruling and assured them that the national government will not interfere and will allow them to determine the best programs for their respective localities using the additional funds they will receive from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) sharing.
He also announced his plan to extend the term of barangay officials as it will be hard for them to finish their projects and programs under the 3-year allotted period.
“Kung titingnan ninyo, simula nang mag-extend tayo ng barangay election, more or less on average five years na rin ang bagsak ng termino ng mga barangay officials. So, imbes na nag-i-extend tayo ng nag-i-extend hindi malaman ang kalagayan ninyo, palitan na natin ‘yung rule gawin na nating five years ang term ng mga barangay officials,” Marcos said to the roaring approval of the crowd.
He also vowed to grant benefits such as scholarships for their children and health insurance accorded to barangay officials as stipulated in the Local Government Code, but has been deferred for quite some time now due to lack of budget.
“’Yan ay isa pa naming iniisip at matagal nang pinag-uusapan ng UniTeam, ng aming mga senador kasama si Inday Sara,” he said.
Another project he wants for the barangay is providing an honorarium for volunteers who are also doing a hard job in rendering public service.
“Iniisip namin dapat i-formalize na at ilagay sa batas ng Local Government Code, ipasok natin na ang ating mga volunteers, sa trabaho nila, dapat ay bigyan na ng honorarium dahil alam natin kung gaano kahalaga ang kanilang ginagawa,” Marcos said.
Marcos thanked the 2,700 barangay delegates for welcoming him as a guest in their event.
A total of 120 Liga ng barangay presidents from Aparri to Jolo, led by national president Eden Chua Pineda, have expressed their support for the candidacy of UniTeam.
Aside from Marcos, Sara was also present during the morning session. UniTeam senatorial bets, Gibo Teodoro and Sherwin Gatchalian also attended the assembly.