Shun partisan politics, DILG exec warns barangay officials

MANILA — An official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday warned barangay officials to refrain from engaging in partisan politics and favoring certain candidates in next year’s mid-term elections.

“You cannot bar local candidates from entering and organizing in your local communities,” DILG Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Diño said during the first Provincial Anti-Crime and Peace and Order Forum in Pangasinan.

He cited Section 389 (Duties and Functions of Barangay Officials) of Republic Act No. 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.

Diño also issued a stern warning to all local barangay officials that he will not hesitate to suspend and remove barangay captains who refuse assistance from national and provincial government offices.

“You (barangay captains and officials) cannot prevent the delivery of goods and services coming from the national and provincial government(s) 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 said.

The DILG official was reacting to reports that certain barangay captains have refused assistance from national and provincial agencies for their communities.

Diño reminded them that they are persons in authority and that they should not be beholden to their governor, congressmen or mayors, especially in the enforcement of all laws, without fear or favor from local officials.

In a statement, Diño told the barangay execs that he will suspend immediately barangay captains who failed to establish functional Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADAC), submit an inventory of barangay office equipment, and liquidate funds.

He cited the continuing practice of issuing mere certifications in the liquidation of barangay funds.

He also cited the important and crucial role of 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,” Diño said.

He also informed them that he will strengthen the gathering and dissemination of information by creating barangay intelligence and information offices.

He rallied all 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 will receive fix salaries and benefits from the national government. For instance, all Punong Barangays will now receive a fixed salary equivalent to that of a regular Sangguniang Bayan (Municipal) council member or approximately PHP40,000; the Barangay Kagawads will receive 80 percent or PHP40,000; SK chairpersons will receive 75 percent or PHP35,000 including, but not limited to, medical benefits and insurance. PNA-northboundasia.com