Empower the barangays with their own funds for services


By Rose de la Cruz


Rep. Ciriaco Calalang of Kabayan partylist urged the Department of Interior and Local Government to design and implement a Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) program for the barangays so that the barangays will be made capable of managing their limited budget but still delivery quality services.


He additionally proposed that all barangays in the country should be levelled up through a 24/7 website to ensure faster service to their constituencies.


Our country has 82 provinces, 145 cities, 1,478 municipalities, and 41,902 barangays, according to the count of the Department of Budget and Management.


The DILG has a program called Seal of Good Local Governance. In the 2017 yearend report of the DILG, this Seal of Good Local Governance was awarded to 29 provinces, 61 cities, and 359 municipalities. The DILG still has a long way to go to cover more LGUs in the SGLG program. 


Calalang said he is proposing an increase to  P2 billion Performance Challenge Fund of DILG for 2019 of the DILG is being apportioned as: 35 percent for the Provinces; 42 percent for the cities; 24 percent for municipalities. But no funds go directly to the barangays,(42,036) who depend on the largesse of their LGUs.


Calalang said: “Kasali dapat ang mga barangay sa Performance Challenge Fund. Unahin ang mga pinakamalalaking barangay. Ayon, sa Philippine Statistics Authority, 15 ang mga barangay na may populasyon na 100,000 pataas. Sila dapat ang role models para sa ibang barangay. Simulan sa kanila at isunod ang mga barangay na 50,000 hanggang 99,999 ang populasyon.”


For 2018, the Performance Challenge Fund has a budget of P1 billion. In the 2019 budget, I will push for this budget to be increased to P2 billion, so that the largest barangays can be included, he said.


He also pushed for upgrading the barangays to the information technology age with many of them still far behind in the 20th century era in terms of technology.


The goal must be to bring each barangay online, with a 24/7 functioning website through which residents can transact and be informed of and can participate in their barangay’s decisions, programs, and projects.


Makikita dapat ng mga residente sa website ng kanilang barangay ang mga detalye ng mga budget, Internal Revenue Allotment, programa, proyekto, at iba pang mga dokumento ng barangay. Para mangyari iyan, kailangan maturuan ang barangay officials, personnel, at mga residente kung paano nila mapapatakbo nang maayos ang kanilang barangay.


His colleague, Rep. Ron Salo of Kabayan, also pushed for bringing good governance to the barangay level through financial upgrading and adding their budgets.


Most Filipino citizens are unaware that their barangays have budgets amounting to millions of pesos because of their respective shares in the IRA or internal revenue allotment of the cities or towns they are part of. They should be aware.


For 2018, the national budget has these allocations for LGUs, among others:  P522.75 billion – IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment); P7 billion – Local Government Support Fund – Financial Assistance to LGUs);  P2.59 billion – LGSF – Assistance to Cities;  P1 billion – Performance Challenge Fund and P2.178 billion – DILG GAA Special Provisions


Of the P522.75 billion for IRA, the 41,902 barangays, as one group, get P103.25 billion.


He said he filed House Bill 7493 (Barangay Equalization Fund Act) on April 2, 2018 since many of the poor barangays, especially in the undeveloped and underdeveloped areas in the countryside, lack the necessary resources to provide the basic services to their constituents.


The internal revenue allotment (IRA) share that barangays are receiving from the national government is oftentimes insufficient to fund their programs and services. Some barangays are also receiving substantially less than the others because of the sharing formula established in existing laws. 


HB 7493 seeks to include in the annual General Appropriations Act a Barangay Equalization Fund for every barangay. The Barangay Equalization Fund shall be on top of the Internal Revenue Allotment share that each barangay is already receiving from the national government.


The appropriation of each barangay shall be based on the Philippine Statistics Authority’s income classification of the city or municipality in which the barangay belongs.


These are the proposed Equalization Fund allocations: a) Every barangay of Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Class municipalities shall receive an annual appropriation of P6 million.


He said every barangay of First, Second and Third-Class municipalities shall receive an annual appropriation of P5 million.


For barangays in the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Class cities shall receive an annual appropriation of P4 million.


Barangays in First, Second and Third - Class cities shall receive an annual appropriation of P3 million.


The Barangay Equalization Fund shall be released annually to every barangay before March 1 of the calendar year and shall be treated as a trust fund in their annual budget.


The fund shall be solely allocated for the improvement of the health and upliftment of the economic life of the residents of the barangay, and shall be specifically allotted as follows: a) 25% shall be allocated for infrastructure development;  b) 25% shall be allocated for livelihood programs; c) 25% shall be allocated for social services such as medical, educational, transportation, burial, and food subsidy assistance and d) 25% shall be allocated for a barangay nutrition program.


Not more than 5% of the allocated amount shall be spent for administration of any of the aforesaid program or project, he said.


Indeed, the indispensable role of barangays in nation-building necessitates that Congress provide it with sufficient resources in order to address the most basic needs of the people, as well as ensure their economic development, Salo concluded.



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Saturday, 20 October 2018
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