“Bagong Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas, Matatag na Haligi sa Kaunlaran ng Bayan”

Speech of Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. delivered at the National Convention of the Liga ng Mga Barangay sa Pilipinas at the SMX Convention Center, Reclamation Area, Pasay City

A very pleasant day to everyone! I would like to sincerely thank you for inviting me as your Guest of Honor and to speak before you in your National Convention. It is always a privilege for me to be with all of you, especially as I believe that there are many of you who are new in this liga.

Let me review some of the different developments in the duties of Barangay Officials.

Kahanga-hanga po ang inyong mga nagawa sa harap ng maraming pagsubok. Patuloy po kayong nakaiisip ng mga paraan para maibigay sa mga mamamayan ang mabuti at mahusay na pamamahala. Isang mahalagang halimbawa na lagi kong ibinabahagi sa inyong lahat: ang mga pagbabago at reporma na naitupad.

•Mga proceso ukol sa accountability at transparency kagaya ng pag-uulat ng mga budget, statement of income and expenditures; at annual procurement plan at iba pang mga financial transactions. Isa po itong paraan para malaman ng taong bayan kung saan po napupunta ang pondo ng gobierno sa pamahalaang local.

•Ang unang paggamit po ng pag-uulat gaya ng State of Barangay Governance Reports (SBGR). Ito po ay isang paraan para malaman ng mga lungsod at municipalidad kung gaano ka-epektibo ang bawat barangay.

•Ang pagsasanay ng 321,264 Barangay officials sa ilalim ng Local Government Academy. Ito ay nagbigay daan tungo sa pormulasyon ng Barangay Agenda for Good Governance and Development.

•Disaster preparedness training, orientation and seminars ng humigit kumulang na 849 na Barangay. Ito ay bilang tugon sa hamon ng mga calamidad at climate change sa ating bansa.

•Ang paglalagay ng isang Pulis sa Barangay (PSB) para sa seguridad ng publico. Ito ay para tumulong sa kapayapaan at kaayusan sa bawat Barangay.

Proof of the worth and importance of the Barangay was brought to light by a survey conducted under the auspices of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). The survey questions were sent to respondents nationwide, answerable by ‘yes’ and ‘no’ with a score that ranges from 1 to 5.

The questions aimed directly on the responsiveness of local government units and general public’s awareness on the existence of services delivered by local governments.

According to the survey, which was reported on June 2013, Ninety-nine percent (99%) of the respondents had already availed of the services offered by Barangays and Ninety-six percent (96%) expressed satisfaction thus far with the services provided by their barangays. This is confirmation of the positive impact of the barangay in the lives of the ordinary Filipino.

Yet, it is observed that these officials and workers who are behind the active operation of the affairs of our barangays are left with minimal benefits which is considered to be ironic given the endless recognition by our government of their indispensable role in the delivery of basic services as their contribution to national development.

That is why, at the onset of the 16th Congress of the Philippines last July 1, 2013, I filed Senate Bill No.12 entitled “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”. This bill seeks to provide a retirement benefit to qualified Punong Barangay, Members of the Sangguniang Barangay, Barangay Treasurer and Secretary, Barangay Tanods, Members of the Lupon ng Tagapamayapa, Barangay Health Workers and Barangay Day Care Workers. Their dedication and contribution to public service for a certain period of time without regular monthly salaries but with only honoraria, allowances or other emoluments deserves more than mere recognition.

As your senator, together, we shall endeavor to continue crafting relevant laws geared towards the protection and further strengthening of this basic institution. We shall support initiatives that would uplift the welfare and condition of Barangay officials and workers.

One such initiative I have been informed about is that of Mr. Lorenzo “Boy” Zuñiga Jr., Barangay chairman of San Ildefonso, Alaminos, Laguna whereby he is proposing the enactment of a law – the Magna Carta for Barangay Chairmen.

This move is supposedly aimed at empowering barangay chairmen and other officials and making them agents of change in their respective areas wherein each Barangay will be encouraged to develop itself towards the end of self-sufficiency and of less reliance on the national government.

It also endeavours to provide fixed monthly salaries to Barangay officials in recognition of their efforts.

This proposal starts with the classification of barangays in almost the same way that cities and towns are classified: from first class as the highest to fifth class as the lowest. The low class barangays shall get financial support from the local, provincial or national government to subsidize these salaries. This would also help eliminate graft and corruption at the Barangay level.

I am studying this initiative and to see if it fits with all our legislative proposals to further strengthen our barangay system.

Let me also report to you that on the same month of July in 2013, I introduced Philippine Senate Resolution 123, creating a Select Oversight Committee on Barangay Affairs in the Upper Chamber of Congress. Background to this is the realization that it has been about 22 years since the enactment of the Local Government Code of 1991 and that subsequently, local governance, particularly in the barangay level had continued to encounter many issues that challenged local authority.

Thus it was deemed vital by the Chairman of the Local Government Committee to constitute this Select Oversight Committee that would scrutinize how barangays all over the country have performed their mandated duty under the 1991 Code, and in the end, make their role more effective and more responsive to the needs of the people.

It is also on record in the Upper Chamber, that after a series of hearings, a Technical Working Group (TWG) was organized by the Local Government Committee, which is tasked in making the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) more relevant and more engaged in the Barangay, making it a more effective and productive tool of the youth for their participation in nation building.

If our government is to care for its people, it must care for the Barangay. Let us therefore join hands and together let us intensify the building of our nation from the ground up by restoring dignity in the lives of our countrymen by continuing to strengthen the most basic government unit that takes care of them – the Barangay.

You are the elected leaders, you are the front liners, and you are the agents of change at the ground level! The challenges to you are great, your opportunities are even greater!

Maraming salamat po at Mabuhay ang Liga ng mga Barangay!

Magandang Tanghali sa Inyong Lahat!

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