Former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Monday bared he would pursue the enactment of a Magna Carta for Barangay officials that would, among others, provide them with additional benefits and social protection.
Go, who was the keynote speaker at the 1st General Membership Assembly of Liga ng mga Barangay Isabela Chapter held at ASEAN Convention Center in Clark , Pampanga , noted the important role of barangay officials, particularly in keeping their communities safe and orderly.
“Ngayon ako naman tinatanong ko din ang mga barangay captain kung papaano ako makaka-tulong sa kanila. Kung saka-sakali itong kanilang kasalukuyang benepisyo pati na rin ang ating mga SK (Sangguniang Kabataan) Kagawad na wala naman pong tinatanggap,” Bong Go said in an interview.
Bong Go was joined by Department of Interior and Local Government Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Dino in the event and was informed that the Liga ng mga Barangay National Board is in consultation with DILG and other concerned agencies in the crafting of the Magna Carta proposal. Go gave his assurance that he will support this endeavor.
“Pag-aaralan namin. Ayoko mangako pero sisilipin natin kung papaano pa po madagdagan ang benepisyo ng Barangay Captains po at Barangay Kagawad,” added Bong Go, who is running for a seat in the Philippine Senate in the 2019 midterm elections.
Bong Go said he will study the possibility of having barangay officials receive salaries instead of honorarium and to receive allowances, insurance, medical benefits, retirement benefits and other fringe benefits to which regular government employees are entitled to.
Bong Go also noted that the term of office of the current set of elected barangay officials is only two years. “Sa two years papaano sila makakagawa ng reporma sa lugar nila? Papaano sila makakapagsilbi ng maayos sa barangay nila ,after a year kampanya na naman sila for another term?,” he added.
The Commission on Election had said winners in the 2018 barangay and SK elections will serve for only two years because the next barangay polls would be held in 2020. However, winners in the 2020 elections will serve for the regular three-year term.
Reiterating that President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, corruption, and criminality would prove very difficult without the support of barangay officials, Bong Go said he is in solidarity with the league in their clamor for additional benefits to the barangay officials.
“Importanteng-importante sa akin ang mga Barangay Captains mahihirapan po kami ni Pangulong Duterte sa kampanya laban sa droga, korapsyon at kriminalidad without the help of barangay officials,” Bong Go said.
Apart from his plans to promote the interests of barangay officials, Bong Go also outlined to them the legislative agenda he would pursue if elected to the Senate.
Foremost in his agenda is to improve delivery of medical services through a measure for the establishment all over the country of Malasakit Centers, one-stop-shops where concerned government agencies are represented to make it easier for poor patients to get medical and financial assistance.
It was Bong Go who led the establishment of Malasakit Centers during his time as special assistant to President Duterte.
He added he would pursue programs for agriculture and food security, free housing for the poor, fire prevention and protection, additional support for education, localized peace talks, sports and youth development, and the review of the Juvenile Justice law, among others.
Aside from pushing for a magna carta for barangay officials, Go also stressed the importance of recognizing the role of barangay health workers, tanods, and other appointed positions in the barangay level as a comprehensive approach in pushing for the welfare of barangay units.
“Importante po ang inyong papel sa komunidad dahil kayo ang unang tumutugon sa mga pangangailangang pangkalusugan ng ating mga kababayan. Taos puso ko kayong pinasasalamatan para sa inyong serbisyo, kontribusyon, at sa suportang patuloy niyong binibigay sa ating bansa,” Go said in a previous event with BHWs held in Tarlac last week.
Go committed that he will push for measures to improve the welfare of barangay workers so that they can be more productive in fulfilling their mandate. “Tulad ng ibang kawani ng gobyerno, dapat ay ma-recognize at mabigyang importansiya ang kanilang role sa ating komunidad,” he added.
Bong Go said that he wants to follow the exemplary example President Duterte set in serving the people.
“Walang hangarin si Pangulong Duterte kundi kabutihan ng bawat Pilipino,” he stressed.