SENATOR Sonny Angara said the barangays should be given more attention by the national government as the country’s basic political unit and as the base of the economy.
“Tuwing may problema, ang barangay ang unang tinatakbuhan ng tao para humingi ng tulong. Sila ang unang rumeresponde sa mga krisis pero sila ang huli lagi pagdating sa mga benepisyo,” Angara said.
Angara has filed Senate Bill 136 or the Magna Carta for Barangays in order to provide the officials of barangays better pay and benefits and greater local autonomy.
Under the bill, barangay officials will be treated as regular government employees, meaning they will receive fixed salaries, allowances, insurance, medical and dental coverage, retirement and other fringe benefits.
“Mahalaga ang trabahong ginagampanan ng ating mga barangay kaya dapat lang na makatanggap sila ng angkop na benepisyo,” Angara said.
The punong barangay will be entitled to the salary being received by a sangguniang bayan member in his or her city or municipality.
An amount equivalent to 80 percent of the salary of a Sanggguniang Bayan member will be received by the six Sangguniang Barangay members.
The Kabataang Barangay chairman, barangay secretary and barangay treasurer, on the other hand, will get an amount equivalent to 75 percent of the salary of a sangguniang bayan member.
Barangay officials do not receive fixed salaries and are only entitled to honoraria and other allowances.
This bill was previously filed by Angara in the 17th Congress, but according to the senator, the needs of the barangay remain the same and its role is as important as ever, thus the need to institute a Magna Carta for Barangays.
Apart from addressing the salaries of the barangay officials, the bill also outlines the basic priorities in the barangay, namely maintaining a regular supply of clean and potable water; providing public transportation for its constituents; and the establishment of at least one elementary school, health center and barangay hall within its jurisdiction.
To ensure the barangays enjoy local autonomy as envisioned by the Local Government Code of the Philippines, Angara said the National Treasury should automatically remit to the barangays their just share from national taxes at the end of every calendar year.