Sen. Alan Cayetano, in a national radio interview, called for reforms to further enhance the capabilities of the barangay – the most basic unit of government – if the barangays are to be expected to effectively fulfill their mandate in addressing the basic needs of their respective communities.
“Barangays are at the forefront of public service. However, it is unfortunate that they are still the most neglected sector in government. Many still lack the necessary funds and resources to make them responsive and productive,” said the senator.
In his consultations with many barangay officials around the country during the campaign period through his PTK Listening Tours, he said many have complained of the severe lack of resources to improve their capabilities to serve the basic needs of its constituents.
“For instance, barangay officials alone are not provided the necessary benefits such as health insurance and proper compensation. Our barangay tanods risk their lives on a daily basis in order to maintain peace and order without assurance of financial support in case of injuries or worse, death,” said the senator stressing that government must provide them with increased benefits as incentives for accomplishing their duties properly.
“Then, barangay day care workers in some provinces receive less than P1,500 as honoraria for their services rendered. This amount is not even sufficient to maintain a decent standard of living. In addition, they are expected to shell out some of their own personal resources to fund the operations of their respective offices because of lack of funding,” he added.
The senator also urged Congress to work for policy reforms that will strengthen the capabilities of barangay units as front liners in public service, safety, and peace and order. “By exercising our oversight functions on the local government code, we can identify provisions that must be amended,” he said.
Cayetano said that basic services such as medical and legal assistance as well as livelihood and financial management seminars for poor families may be provided in the barangay level.
He also pointed out that by strengthening the people’s court, resolutions to domestic conflicts can immediately be reached and thereby free our national police or the higher courts from added workload.
“More importantly,” he said, “with the barangay as the effective front line unit, the whole government bureaucracy will be in a better position to deliver reforms addressing grassroot problems related to presyo, trabaho, kita (PTK)” he said.#