Home Uncategorized Let the real work begin!

Let the real work begin!

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NOW THAT the votes have been counted and various congratulatory and thank you messages have been posted on social media, it is high time for the elected barangay officials including the sangguniang kabataan (SK) officials to keep their election promises and get down to serious and real work as public servants.

Over the past few days, I have been bombarded with campaign posters and jingles that highlight the qualifications, achievements, and programs of the candidates. If these were the only basis in choosing the next breed of local leaders, it would be a tall order to trim down the list. Mayap la ngan, ala kang iugse, ala kang itulak-kabigan. But if we were to be more judicious to go over the list of candidates, we wouldn’t be surprised at all to see that many were cut from the same fabric that make up the bunch of unqualified, ill-prepared, and misinformed clowns in Congress, masquerading as the people’s champions ready to risk their lives for the welfare of every Filipino. In short, panugse la ngan, para-pareho la mu keng akbak ng Judas.

Even prior to the official start of the campaign period on October 19, we saw how the barangay elections mirrored the national polls – mudslinging among the candidates, in-fighting among neighbors, friends and even families torn apart by political disagreements, proliferation of fake news and disinformation, charges of widespread vote-buying and election-related violence, local dynasties or influential figures dictating the election dynamics particularly the SK elections, and a long list of candidates who are suddenly interested to serve but have actually been nowhere in sight during the many instances when their own ka-barangays needed them the most.

More than these sad realities, what is truly frustrating is how the voting public made themselves a gullible and easy target of these sweet-talking candidates. They could have made the right choice; they could have sparked meaningful and significant changes in the barangay level. Unfortunately, they opted to look the other way. To date, most Filipinos still do not understand, appreciate and embrace the power of their vote, and their voice.
And now that the winners have been proclaimed by election officials, the day of reckoning begins. Let us remind them of their election promises every single day.

First off, let us require all barangay officials to review and master the Local Government Code (LGC) by heart. This serves as the bible of their public office and it is but proper that they will be guided by the provisions of the code. No offense meant, but I have met and talked to a lot of elected barangay officials who are not even familiar with the powers, duties and functions of the Sangguniang Barangay as the legislative body of the barangay as contained in Section 391, Chapter 4, Book III of the LGC.

We also have to ensure that the appointive barangay officials meet the qualifications stipulated in Sections 394-396, Chapter 5, Book III of the LGC. More often than not, these positions are given out of political patronage i.e., to distant relatives, allies or party members who are not only unprepared but are unqualified for the posts. Hence, we encounter barangay secretaries who cannot issue a certificate without asking another person to encode or even print the document. Worse, we find secretaries who write a blotter or report that proves dismal to the case of an aggrieved party. This is due to the faulty word usage and sentence construction, and their limited knowledge of the law. We also know of barangay treasurers who cannot prepare a decent financial report, or even account for all barangay expenditures.

Let us also ask the barangay council to craft a medium and long-term development plan for our respective barangays. They have to ensure that the plan is aligned with the municipal development plan and even with the national development goals.
As for the use of barangay funds, let us require the council to present, discuss and disseminate the monthly budget through all possible means available – regular posting in the barangay hall, on the official FB page and providing copies to key sectors in the community. It is high time that we learn how to demand accountability and transparency from our barangay officials.

These are just the basics and the list goes on. If any of our barangay official tells us that we are asking too much from them given their meager salary and relatively “small” position, let us remind them that we never asked them to lead us. Rather, they volunteered to serve the barangay and we entrusted them with our vote. If they find the job too demanding, they can always find their way out.

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