BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said the ultimate solution to the lack of funds of the city’s 128 barangays to pay for the honorarium of their respective barangay tanods is for the merger of the barangays to comply with the minimum number of inhabitants pursuant to the provisions of the Local government Code of the Philippines.
The local chief executive cited the merger of barangays would greatly contribute in the realization of the increase in the funds of the barangays to cover their expenditures, especially for their barangay tanods who contribute in the maintenance of peace in the city’s 128 barangays.
He cited the example of Irisan, the city’s largest barangay, which a rapidly growing population and has adequate funds to compensate their barangay officials, tanods and other services rendered to their constituents.
Domogan’s reaction came after Councilor Michael Lawana, who is also the president of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC), posed a challenge to city officials to help them raise funds to pay their barangay tanods when the city council rejected the proposal of the AB to hold a trade fair for two months to raise funds purposely for their tanods.
It can be recalled that the Commission on Audit (COA) denied the use of the maintenance and other operating expenses of the barangays to pay the services of their barangay tanods that resulted to the drastic decline of the number of barangay tanods rendering voluntary services to their barangays. From over 1,000 tanods distributed in the city’s 128 barangays, the number declined to only 220 which poses a serious negative effect to the peacekeeping efforts of the barangays.
Under the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local government code of the Philippines, a barangay must have a minimum of 5,000 inhabitants and that barangay officials must be compensated through the salary grade level pursuant to the levels fixed by law.
“It is high time that our barangay officials consider the long overdue proposal for the merger of the city’s existing barangays. We have to be practical on the matter so that our barangays will be able to achieve their goals and objectives,” Domogan said.
From the previous 128 barangays, proponents of the merger of barangays want that the number of barangays in the city should be limited to more or less 50 to 52 barangays.
Domogan said once the merger will be in effect, barangay officials will be fully compensated while their workers will be able to receive their proper salaries prescribed under existing rules and regulations and that their honoraria will be upgraded into salaries.
He said it is high time to open the consultations for the proposed merger of barangays in order to allow strategically located barangays that do not meet the minimum population to be lumped together to increase the income and capacity of the barangays to render public service.
During the previous administrations, the proposed merger of the city’s barangays had been proposed in the city council but no definite action was taken up to this time.
Domogan appealed to barangay officials to be open-minded about the proposed consultations on the merger of barangays because it will open the floodgates of discussions that will generate recommendations in order to implement the merger beneficial to the greater majority of the populace and the delivery of services to the grassroots level in the future.
By Dexter A. See