February 12, 2012
Legarda to Barangay Officials: Translate National Policies
Senator Loren Legarda called on barangay officials to be frontliners in genuine local development as the Senate works on several measures that would further empower community leaders.
Legarda made the statement as she presented her legislative initiatives before the members of the Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas during its 2nd General Assembly.
"We have pending laws in the Senate that seek what is rightful and just to our barangay officials and to the communities where they serve. Through these measures, barangay leaders will be better compensated, and hopefully, will be better motivated and continue to be proactive and productive leaders in the country," she explained.
"These proposed laws will also give what is due to every barangay to address the basic concerns of the community and to promote genuine development," she added.
Legarda said that among the proposed measures is the Magna Carta for Barangays (Senate Bill 1336), which seeks to recognize barangay officials as regular government employees with fixed salaries, allowances, insurance, and other benefits that a regular government employee is entitled to.
This measure also aims to (1) provide barangays with basic necessities such as regular supply of clean and potable water, public transportation, schools, health centers and barangay halls; (2) allow the automatic release of share from national taxes; and, (3) ensure that barangays have a share in taxes, fees and other charges, among others.
Meanwhile, Barangay Security Development Officers will be granted hazard pay under Senate Bill 1341; and will receive increased benefits, incentives, and assistance such as free legal services from government lawyers in responding to cases filed against them in the performance of their duties under Senate Bill 2125.
Likewise, Barangay Health Workers will be provided with an adequate health insurance program under Senate Bill 1340.
"In relation to providing health care to our citizens, we have also filed Senate Bill 1384 that seeks to mandate the Department of Health to ensure that every barangay has at least one health worker, who must be given honorarium and other benefits aside from their salary," Legarda said.
"As we work on these measures in the Senate, I encourage barangay leaders to translate national policies, plans and programs into concrete and visible actions for the people. These efforts will have to start at the barangay level and must be conveyed to their city or municipality officials," she added.
Legarda also urged local leaders to be at the forefront of climate adaptation initiatives, stressing that the Climate Change Act of 2009 (Republic Act 9729) mandates barangay officials to work with municipal and city governments in prioritizing concerns related to climate change and in identifying and implementing effective systems for climate adaptation and mitigation.
"My greater challenge for barangay officials is to take the initiative in making communities disaster resilient through proactive measures, such as ensuring that local development programs are climate-sensitive and responsive so that progress would not be hindered or stunted by a single extreme weather event," Legarda stressed.
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