Senator Chiz Escudero wants officials of the country’s 42,000 barangays to be given monthly salaries instead of just honoraria and allowances.
“Dapat naman siguro may sweldo na sila at hindi honorarium lamang. Mas araw-araw ang trabaho nila kaysa sa aming mga senador na four times a week lamang at may pension pa kami pero sa mga nasa barangay ay wala at honorarium lamang,” the senator said.
Escudero has proposed Senate Bill 2868, which would increase the benefits of barangay officials and provide the prevailing minimum wage in the region per month for Sangguniang Barangay members, barangay treasurer, and barangay secretary.
The proposed bill also provides a minimum wage rate plus 20 percent for the barangay captain.
The bill seeks to amend the Local Government Code of 1991, which stipulates that a barangay captain gets a minimum of a P1,000-honorarium per month while other elected barangay officials get P600 per month.
“Our proposal is to significantly increase the monetary compensation being received by barangay officials. It would be the minimum wage rate in the region. If the barangay is rich, they can give more. This is in recognition of the fact that life is difficult nowadays. They are only receiving allowances and honoraria. The problem with allowances and honoraria is we can’t use that as basis for pensions and retirement benefits of barangay officials,” Escudero said.
He noted that there are some barangay officials who serve for three terms and sometimes for about 15 to 20 years.
“May tanod na 10 years, day care worker na 15 years nang nagsisilbi. But after they serve the barangay, they receive nothing. It’s simply because they receive allowances and honoraria. If you convert it to salary, at least there is a basis to compute their pension, their retirement benefits,” Escudero said.
While there is a proposal to postpone the coming barangay elections next year, the senator said it is time the government to review the use of barangay funds and come up with a comprehensive law on the election of barangay officials and the budget allotted to barangays.
Barangay elections are scheduled on the first Monday of October 2013, five months after the May mid-term elections. There is a proposal at the House of Representatives, however, to move the barangay election on October 2015.#