Congress vows to provide higher benefits to barangay officials

Barangay officials and workers will get more benefits once the various measures that seek to give them additional remunerations, particularly the granting of retirement pensions and loan packages, are passed into law, according to Senate President Franklin M. Drilon.

Speaking before delegates of the Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas – Bulacan Provincial Chapter Convention held at Davao City, the Senate leader said that the leaderships of the Senate and the House have agreed to work on expanding the coverage of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to include the country’s barangay officials.

“We in Congress recognize the barangay leaders’ contribution to the community as front-liners of government service, so it is high time that we accord them the recognition and benefits the state is supposed to give to its workers,” Drilon said.

In the Senate, Drilon is the author of Senate Bill No. 467, which seeks to “amend Presidential Decree No. 1146, as amended, to expand and increase the coverage and benefits of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to include elected and appointed barangay officials.” A similar version of the bill was also filed by the senator in the previous 15th Congress. Last Tuesday, the bill was tackled by Senate Committee on Finance.

Once the bill is enacted, the barangays officials from almost 42,000 barangays in the country can qualify for retirement benefits and other kinds of loans such as housing, salary, education and calamity loans, among others which the insurance agency is providing to state workers, explained Drilon.

He said that the inclusion is only warranted, due to the crucial part played by barangay officials play in addressing the everyday needs of their constituents, and in their role as the primary planning and implementing unit of government policies, plans, programs, projects, and activities in the community level.

However, despite their “evident importance,” Drilon observed that the officials of the barangay have not been recognized as government employees, particularly when membership in the GSIS is concerned.

“The allowances and benefits being given to barangay leaders do not commensurate with the quality of service and assistance they are extending to the community as well as to the government,” he said.

Under the bill, the compensation, honoraria and other emoluments being received by the barangay officials will be the basis in computing their contributions to GSIS.

This, Drilon hopes, will incentivize efficient performance among barangay officials, saying that these “benefits should inspire exacting efficient and effective results among public servants in the barangay level.”

The proposed measure also instructs the GSIS to work with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the national league of barangay captains and officials to formulate the necessary rules and regulations to implement the provisions of the act.#