‘Barya-barya’: Senators say time to fix pay of barangay watchmen
MANILA, Philippines — The meager pay of barangay tanods (village watchmen) caught the senators’ attention on Monday, with a legislator noting that they only get as low as P300 or as much as P1,000 a month.
“’Yung sa sweldo po ng mga tanod, matagal ko na pong sinasabi ito rito ano hong balak ng mga kinauukulan ukol po dun sa allowance ng mga barangay tanod kasi nga po karamihan sa mga barangay tanod, ang kanila pong allowance may P300, may P500 a month at hindi naman po siguro sapat ‘yan na bumuhay ng isang pamilya,” Senator Raffy Tulfo said during a joint Senate hearing on automatic income classification for local government units.
(About the salary of the village watchmen, I’ve been asking about it here, what’s the plan of concerned officials regarding the allowance of the village watchmen because many of them just receive P300, P500 a month, which is apparently not enough to feed a family.)
While some are volunteers, Tulfo pointed out that these village watchmen put their lives on the line to keep their community safe.
“…And yet ang binibigay sa kanila barya-barya, P300, P500. Bakit po ganun – kada buwan?”
(And yet what is given to them are mere change of P300, P500. Why is that – every month?)
An official from the Department of Finance, Ma. Pamela Quizon, told the committee that the salaries or allowances of barangay officials and members are within the purview of the Department of Budget and Management.
Under the Local Government Code of 1991, Barangay officials are compensated in the form of honoraria, with the minimum set at P1,000 per month for the chairman and P600 per month for Sanggunian barangay members.
Tulfo asked why some are receiving a P300 or P500 pay a month while others are getting P1,000.
“Like I said, uulitin ko may mga tanod na P300, may mga tanod na P500 then ‘yung nakakasweldo ng P300, believe it or not, itong mga tao na ito napipilitan kung minsan na maging corrupt, manghu-hulidap para mapunuan ‘yung kanilang mga pangangailangan. Kung minsan eh nagtitinda ng mga illegal na kung anong mga bagay-bagay dyan because wala silang salary, natutukso sila,” the senator further lamented.
(Like I said, some receive P300, others are P500 then those who are getting P300, believe it or not, these people are sometimes forced to become corrupt, some would do some form of extortion to make ends meet. Sometimes they sell illegal things because they do not have a salary, they get tempted.)
While many are working in the comfort of air-conditioned offices, Tulfo said village watchmen are risking their lives even without receiving health and pension benefits.
Senator JV Ejercito, who was presiding over the hearing as chairman of the Senate committee on local government, agreed with Tulfo.
“It’s about time that we craft a bill that would really compensate these people, these are the true frontliners of government service,” Ejercito said.
Ejercito also noted that he and Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, also in the hearing, served as mayors in their respective localities.
On the part of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Assistant Secretary Donnie Puno promised to clarify the issue with the National Barangay operations under the agency.