Congress agree to fast track bill providing higher benefits to barangay execs

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Friday, May 30, 2014

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, Senate President Franklin Drilon said.

The Senate leader said that the leaderships of the Senate and the House of Representatives have agreed to work on expanding the coverage of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to include the country's barangay officials.

Drilon said that Congress recognizes the barangay leaders' contribution to the community as front-liners of government service.


"It is high time that we accord them the recognition and benefits the state is supposed to give to its workers," Drilon said.

Drilon is the author of Senate Bill 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." The senator in the previous 15th Congress filed a similar version of the bill. The Senate committee on finance tackled the bill last Tuesday.

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, said Drilon.

He said 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.

Drilon hopes that this 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. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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