By Chito Chavez
With the approaching May 2019 mid-term elections, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) assured that the agency’s personnel and barangay officials found engaging in partisan politics will be dealt with the stiffest sanctions as provided by the law.
DILG Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Diño cited Section 389 (Duties and Functions of Barangay Officials) of RA 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code, and reminded them of their role to promote the general welfare of the barangay and enforce all laws and regulations.
He threatened non-complying local and barangay officials with suspension and in the worst scenario dismissal from the service.
“You cannot bar local candidates from entering and organizing in your local communities,” Diño said.
Diño’s statement was in reference to numerous complaints that some barangay and other local officials intentionally bar prospective candidates or make it more difficult for them to conduct lawful campaign sorties.
“You (barangay captains and officials) cannot prevent the delivery of goods and services coming from the national and provincial government in your respective communities because of personal political considerations. All I need is a formal written complaint from your constituents. I will ask the barangay captain concerned to explain to me within 72 hours why he or she refused to accept assistance from the national or local government offices,” he added.
Diño had received reports that some barangay captains have refused assistance from national and provincial agencies for their communities.
The DILG official reminded barangay officials that as persons in authority “they should not be beholden to their governor, congressmen or mayors, especially in the enforcement of all laws’’.
Also, Diño warned that barangay executives will be suspended immediately if they fail to establish functional Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADAC) while demanding that they submit an inventory of barangay office equipment and liquidated funds. He cited the continuing practice of issuing mere certification in the liquidation of barangay funds.
Diño also stressed the important and crucial role of the barangay officials in protecting the environment.
“You are the front liners in the delivery of government services in your communities. The DILG will establish barangay councils for the protection of our natural resources,” he added.
He vowed to strengthen the gathering and dissemination of information by creating barangay intelligence and information offices.
Diño also rallied all the barangay execs in advocating for the passage of the long-overdue Magna Carta for Barangay Officials, which was proposed by then Senator Nene Pimentel during the 14th Congress.
Under the proposed bill, all barangay officials stand to receive fix salaries and benefits from the national government.
“For instance, all Punong Barangays will receive a fixed salary equivalent to that of a regular Sangguniang Bayan (Municipal) council member, the Barangay Kagawads will receive 80 percent; SK chairpersons will received 75 percent including but not limited to, medical benefits and insurance,’’ Diño said.