A team headed by the new OIC Regional Director of DILG Region 6, Engr. Ariel O. Iglesia, has been hopping from province to province to conduct a Barangay Summit on Good Governance around the region from January 15-24, 2019.
“Napakalaki po ng role ng mga barangay officials. Kayo po ang mga development managers, program implementers at service providers. Sana po ang lahat ng inyong matututunan sa Barangay Summit ay magagamit sa pagkakaroon ng matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay." said DILG R6 OIC-Regional Director Engr. Ariel O. Iglesia before thousands of barangay officials who participated in the series of activities.
A total of 4,353 participants from all over Western Visayas composed of Punong Barangays, Liga ng mga Barangay Presidents, DILG personnel, highly esteemed guests and resource speakers gathered to attend the summit conducted in all provinces in the region.
Highlighting the crucial role of barangay as the basic planning and implementing unit of the government’s programs, projects and activities in the community, the Barangay Summit provided a platform for all the elected Punong Barangays to discuss the current thrusts of the government.
The summit focuses on the inherent role of the barangays in preventing illegal drugs, criminality, corruption, and violent extremism. The activity also supports the quest of the current administration to transform our country from a unitary form of government to a Federal form.
“This barangay summit gives an opportunity for the Punong Barangays to interface with key officials of the DILG.” said Local Government Monitoring and Evaluation Division (LGMED) Chief Maricel Bechayda.
Usec. Martin Dino (Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs), Asec. Ricojudge Janvier Echiverri (Asst. Secretary for External and Legislative Affairs) and Asec. Roosque Calacat (Asst. Secretary for Barangay Affairs and Partnership) among others, were the notable speakers during the activity.
Asec Echiverri stressed the compensation and benefits of barangay officials as provided in the Local Government Code of 1991, which includes honorarium and allowances; Christmas bonus; free hospitalization in public hospitals; free education of children in State Universities and Colleges; death and burial benefits, and grant of appropriate civil service eligibility. In addition, Echiverri reminded them of their duties and functions as Punong Barangays.
Usec Martin Dino, former punong barangay for 13 years, shared his experience on how he fought corruption in his time. He encouraged all the Punong Barangays to do the same.
“Punong Barangays are persons in authority and they should follow the law.” said Usec Dino as he talks about barangay officials being suspended and dismissed because of corruption acts. This was seconded by Asec. Roosque Calacat who urged the barangay officials to curb corruption which usually starts at the barangay level.
“The barangays are the first to spot corrupt practices”, he said.
Asec. Calacat added that the reason why there is still so much poverty in the country is because of corruption.
At the grassroots level, barangay officials manage huge amount of funds from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) which is the annual share of local government units out of the proceeds from national internal revenue taxes. Apart from the IRA, barangays also have taxing powers. With so much money at stake, the barangays are prone to corruption practices and the current administration strengthens its advocacy to prevent it.
On the other hand, as the lead agency in the campaign for federalism, DILG advocates the benefits of having a Federal form of government as discussed by DILG Region 6 Legal Officer Atty. Cedric Jaranilla.
“Federalism is not the only solution to poverty, inequality and instability but it is a practical solution.” said Atty. Jaranilla.
Also present were invited speakers from the PNP, AFP and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Peace and Security who discussed the barangay’s role against criminality, prevention of violent extremism and understanding the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF). The topics aimed to equip the barangay officials with knowledge on how to maintain peace and order in their respective barangays.
The local chief executives, their representatives and other local officials warmly welcomed the team in their respective provinces. The Governors of Antique, Aklan, Capiz and Guimaras graced the activity with their presence, as well as Negros Occidental’s Vice Governor and Iloilo City Mayor to show their support and urged the Punong Barangays to perform their duties as elected officials.
The series of activities, with a total of six (6) legs of the Barangay Summit, were conducted in order to enhance the capacities of the barangay officials in Western Visayas. This is to further improve their performance and enable them to effectively and efficiently deliver services to their constituents while still being in line with the current thrusts of the administration.