P20B fund for village dev’t sought | Inquirer News

P20B fund for village dev’t sought

/ 01:58 AM October 29, 2013

The fastest way to deliver basic services to the people may not be through the corruption-ridden pork barrel system, but through a P20-billion fund to develop the barangays (villages).

This is the blueprint outlined by Magdalo lawmakers as the nation grapples with alternatives to the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund in the aftermath of an alleged P10-billion scam that diverted financing to ease rural poverty into ghost projects and kickbacks over the past decade.

Representatives Gary Alejano and Francisco Ashley Acedillo of Magdalo noted in a pending bill that the barangay “serves as the primary implementing unit for government policies, plans, programs, projects and activities in the community.”


That is why the two lawmakers are pushing for a bill that would allocate P20 billion for the proposed Barangay Development Fund, which would be tapped under a 20-year plan to accelerate the transformation of the 42,028 barangays to improve the services they provide.


According to the authors, cities and municipalities have been the present focus of development, but there is a need to boost barangays as well to ensure that any progress the country experiences would trickle down to those who need it.

Under the bill, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the National Economic and Development Authority should work with Pambansang Liga ng mga Barangay to map out a master plan that would ensure the progressive growth of the barangays.

The bill includes a common plan for all the communities, as well as specific strategies to address the unique needs of each barangay, whether it be new multipurpose buildings or other such infrastructure. Some barangays should be considered priority areas as well. It also provides for an audit or oversight function of the DILG.

“The program shall address the different needs of every barangay, from physical infrastructure to economic infrastructure, which shall ultimately make the barangay an economic unit and thus the primary engine of growth for national development,” the bill’s explanatory note said.

The P20-billion seed fund could be sourced from savings and from 20 percent of all expanded value-added tax collections, the authors said.

Aid to barangay watchmen


In a separate bill, the Magdalo lawmakers proposed that barangay tanod (watchmen), who help the police maintain peace and order, should receive additional benefits to recognize the important role they play in securing neighborhoods.

They said the tanod or civilian volunteers who have served for at least

one year should be given:

— Christmas bonus equivalent to half of what the head of the barangay gets

— Insurance coverage equivalent to three-fourths of what the barangay chair receives

— Free legal services for cases filed against them in the course of doing their jobs

— Fifty-percent discount on tuition for their children enrolled in any state university or college

— Preference in membership in barangay livelihood and development projects

The lawmakers noted that the volunteers would have to be on call 24 hours a day and always in the front line whenever disturbances erupt. These officials face the hazards despite having little to defend themselves with, they contended.

The benefits they are currently receiving are not enough for the tasks they fulfill, according to Alejano and Acedillo.

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“The upgrading of the benefits and incentives afforded to our barangay tanod recognizes the vital role they play in maintaining peace and order and social stability in our barangays,” the lawmakers said.

TAGS: Congress, Gary Alejano, Philippines, proposed bill

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