By Zaldy De Layola

(File photo)

MANILA — Isabela 6th District Representative Faustino “Inno” Dy V on Wednesday expressed great optimism that the measure seeking to strengthen barangays and improve the compensation and benefits being received by barangay workers would also be approved, as he cited the earlier approval of the Magna Carta for Barangay Health Workers on final reading by the House of Representatives.

“I hope that when Congress resumes, we can also pass the Magna Carta for Barangays. Pahabol sana nating Christmas gift sa mga walang pagod na nagtatrabaho para maitaguyod ang ating mga pamayanan (It would just like be a delayed Christmas gift to those who are working tirelessly to uplift the community),” Dy said in a statement.

House Bill No. 1204, which the Isabela solon authored, aims to make barangay officials regular government employees, which would entitle them to fixed salaries, insurance, and retirement benefits, among others.

“Our barangay officials are first responders to any concern that the community faces. They do not have regular hours because their duties are closely linked with the life of the community. Yet, for such a crucial job, they only get paid a pittance. They do not even have insurance should harm come to them in the performance of their jobs,” the lawmaker noted.

“It is high time to correct such injustice, and this proposed measure would be a good way to express gratitude for the selfless service of barangay officials,” Dy said.

The proposed measure further empowers barangays by ensuring the availability in every barangay of basic services and facilities such as drinking water, transportation, and schools.

The measure also mandates the construction and maintenance of at least one deep well with a pumping device for drawing drinking water for every 1,000 residents in each barangay.

Meanwhile, every municipality or city would also be tasked with coordinating with government agencies to require public utility companies to provide public transportation.

Each barangay would also be entitled to have at least one elementary school, and a high school every five kilometers from the barangay center; as well as a health center and a barangay hall.

The just share of barangays from national taxes would also be automatically released to them every end of the calendar year.

Likewise, all public funds from the National Treasury for the maintenance of barangay roads and bridges and similar construction works should also be transferred directly to the barangays’ general fund.

Every barangay would also be entitled to an equitable share of proceeds derived from the exploitation, utilization, and development of natural resources within its territory.

The measure also provides for the prioritization of barangay residents in the hiring of workers and laborers for any government construction or development within their respective barangays.

“As the core unit of government, we should have every motivation to improve our barangays. Nakadikit ang kalidad ng buhay ng mga kababayan natin sa kalidad ng serbisyo ng barangay, kaya’t dapat masigasig tayo sa pagpapabuti ng bawat barangay sa buong bansa (The quality of life of our countrymen hinges on the quality of service in the barangay, that’s why we have to be vigorous in uplifting every barangay in the country),” Dy said. (PNA)