The interpellation period for the barangay benefits bill has begun on Wednesday (Sept. 3, 2014) with Senator Teofisto Guingona III satisfied and enlightened with the answers given by the Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., the author and sponsor of the proposed measure.
Senate Bill No. 12 seeks to provide retirement benefits to qualified barangay chairman, member of the Sangguniang Barangay, treasurer and secretary, barangay tanod, member of the Lupon ng Tagapamayapa, and health and day care workers.
Under the bill, a qualified chairman is entitled to P100,000 retirement benefit, P80,000 for kagawad, P50,000 for secretary, treasurer, lupon member, tanod, and health and day care workers.
During the interpellation, Guingona asked Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, why the amount of the benefits are not the same to all the qualified retirees.
“As regards to the difference of the amount of benefits, again, because of our budgetary constraints, we feel that the government cannot give a uniform amount of P100,000. Thus, we devised a gradual amount based on the hierarchy of barangay officials and taking into consideration their numbers,” Marcos said.
Section 2 of the bill provides that a retiree must be 60 years of age and has at least 9 years of service at the time of retirement in order to qualify for the financial benefit.
Marcos also took note of the inquiry of Guingona why the retirement budget shall be administered by the Department of Interior and Local Government and not the Government Service Insurance Corporation. He assured that he would study it further and open to make it as an amendment to the bill.
Section 3 of the bill proposes the creation of a Barangay Retirement Benefit Fund to be sourced out from the one percent of the 60 percent share of the national government from the total collection of the Bureau of Internal Revenue under section 284 of the Local Government Code of 1991.
Marcos said the GSIS explained during the committee hearings that barangay officials couldn’t be enrolled in the program of the GSIS since the agency membership is limited to government employees who are receiving fixed salaries.
“Technically, barangay officials are not receiving compensation but only honoraria,” he said.
Satisfied with the answers and explanations of Marcos, Guingona moved to make him co-sponsor of the bill.