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Roque: Barangays crucial to nat’l recovery

Senatorial candidate Harry Roque has urged barangay officials to join the UniTeam’s call to “move forward as a nation and recover as one” from the impacts of the pandemic and the impending war in Eastern Europe.”

The former presidential spokesman stressed the barangay’s role as government frontliners in the nation-building and national recovery thrusts of the Duterte administration.

“We commend the barangay units for implementing government projects and programs such as the Covid-19 vaccination, health protocols, and quarantine regulations on the ground,” Roque said.

Roque said he would pursue measures to strengthen the barangay’s mandate, specifically its fiscal autonomy, and uplift the workers’ quality of life once he earns a Senate seat.

A former member of the House of Representatives, Roque vowed to refile bills like the ‘Magna Carta for Barangays,’ ‘Barangay Workers Incentives Act,’ and ‘Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment (BRAVE).

Roque said the barangay is also a direct beneficiary of the Mandanas Ruling, which has increased the local government unit’s (LGU) internal revenue allotment (IRA) by as much as 38 percent.

Roque, who lawyered for the petitioner Batangas Governor Hermilando ‘Dodo’ Mandanas, argued the local government’s rightful share of national taxes before the Supreme Court. The High Court affirmed the ruling in 2019.

Beginning this year, the government will implement the Mandanas Ruling. The LGUs will get a share of tariff and customs duties, excise taxes, and taxes derived from the exploitation of national wealth, among others.

The barangay will be entitled to just shares from national taxes, road and bridge maintenance funds, the mandatory percentage of real property taxes within the barangay, and an equitable share of proceeds from natural wealth exploitation within its territory.

The health and human rights advocate also assured that barangay workers and residents would benefit from his legislative agenda on the right to life, health, work, and social services for all Filipinos.

His platform includes the ‘zero hunger’ within six years, right to potable water, better implementation of the Universal Health Care, ‘three-day court hearing’ rule, and job creation for pandemic-affected Filipinos.

Roque authored the law on Universal Health Care coverage, free wi-fi in public places, free irrigation for farmers, free tuition for students in-state colleges and universities, and a free lunch program for elementary pupils.

Roque’s version of the ‘Magna Carta for Barangay’ (House Bill 2662) seeks to declare barangay officials as government employees with fixed salaries, allowances, and other fringe benefits.

Further, the proposed measure provides priority programs such as drinking water, transportation, school, health centers, barangay halls for every barangay.

Roque recently spoke before the League of Barangays in the Philippines Region 8 General Assembly.

He said all barangays would be provided P5 million for development projects under the proposed BRAVE law.

Under the proposed ‘Barangay Workers’ Incentives Act,’ officials and employees will be entitled to tax exemption, Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) coverage, and legal representation from the Public Attorneys Office (PIO).

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