A bill that seeks to provide a maximum of P100,000 retirement pay and other non-monetary benefits to barangay officials has hurdled the local government committee in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
The House Committee on Local Government, chaired by South Cotabato Rep. Pedro Acharon, has approved a substitute measure of 35 bills, which all aim to amend section 393 of Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code.
Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian, one of the authors of the substitute bill, said it is high time for Congress to enact a law that will provide much-needed additional benefits and privileges to barangay officials.
Gatchalian is the author of House Bill No. 5245 or the “Additional Benefits for Barangay Officials Act” that was merged with 34 bills, which push for more benefits and privileges for barangay officers in RA 7160.
The veteran lawmaker, who also served as the three-term mayor of Valenzuela City, is confident that such move will prevent corruption and inactivities in barangay units which both often stems from the meager salary of local public servants.
“The role of barangay is crucial in society where local planning and implementation of basic government programs are delivered to the public. They are primarily engaged in enacting and enforcing laws, as well as exercising local judicial functions,” Gatchalian explained.
“If we also want to give the local government units the self-sufficiency that the government envisions, we must be able to provide higher compensation and proper benefits to hard-working barangay officials,” he said.
Under the substitute bill, retiring barangay officials, who served a minimum of nine years in their local post, will be entitled to gratuity pay that may reach up to P100,000.
The retirement pay will be equivalent to their one year honorarium and will be taken from the barangay retirement fund.
Aside from retirement pay, barangay officials shall also be given a 10-percent discount and certain exemptions on value-added tax (VAT) on sale of goods and medical services.
A Twenty-percent discount on transportation fare and hotel accommodation will also be given to barangay officials under this bill.
Barangay officials in this bill shall also include barangay tanod and members of the lupon ng tagapamayapa. (Tim Alcantara)