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PostSubject: Barangays' Multi-Billion Budget Attracts More Bets   Sun Oct 24, 2010 11:12 am

MANILA, Philippines — With almost P52-billion Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) this year, the nation’s barangays now have more money in their coffers, giving officials the opportunity to increase their pay.

Frank Cruz, assistant director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) National Barangay Operations Office (NBOO), said barangay officials are entitled to a monthly honorarium – not less than P1,000 for barangay chairmen, and not less than P600 for kagawad — as stipulated under the Local Government Code.

Cruz, however, said that the honoraria for barangay officials should not be more than 55 percent of the barangay annual budget.

“Under the Local Government Code, the barangay council has the power to change the honoraria. They can do that by issuing an ordinance through barangay legislation,” Cruz said.

He explained that an ordinance increasing the honoraria will take effect only after the end of a term.

“The ordinance will take effect for the next batch of barangay officials. So if a barangay official runs again and wins the elections, he can reap the rewards of that ordinance,” he said.

The DILG official said this year’s P51,865,195,577 IRA is much bigger than last year’s P48 billion.

Apart from the IRA, Cruz said that under the Local Government Code, the barangay also gets a 25-percent share from taxes for real properties in the locality. It can generate income by imposing fees and charges.

“There are certain fees and charges that they can impose as provided for by the Code,” he said.

The DILG official stated that the honoraria being received should be equivalent to that of a government employee at around P14,000.

Cruz added that other barangays, especially the more affluent ones, receive higher honoraria.

Another safeguard to prevent abuse is that municipal or city councils have been tasked to review every barangay ordinance.

Asked if the presence of the honoraria has served a come- on for people to run for a barangay post, the DILG official said:

“I would like to believe that they just are determined to help their constituents”

“They want to make a difference in their barangays. For the incumbents running for reelection, they want to continue what they have started. While the new ones want to affect changes that they see or feel for the barangay to really grow or develop.”

But Quezon City’s Barangay San Vicente Chairman Kristhine Adraneda believes otherwise. She lamented that based on her experience, some people only want to run for an elective post to receive pay from the barangays.

“It (barangay) has become a milking cow. If you’re jobless, it’s the easiest way to earn money,” said Adraneda, public relations officer of both the Quezon City chapter of the Association of Barangay Chairwomen and the Association of Barangay Captains. She is also the vice president of the Quezon City Ladies’ Foundation.

She said that in Quezon City, a chairman receives a monthly average of P13,000 to P17,000 while a kagawad receives an average P11,000 to P14,000.

Adraneda is seeking a second term against six other candidates for kagawad.

Jeffrey Damicog, Manila Bulletin
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