What should barangay leaders do?-A A +A
Monday, October 28, 2013
IT MAY not be as festive and heart-pounding event to the majority of the Filipinos of what’s to unfold today in the barangay elections, compared to the local and national elections, but this should be the moment when we should focus our eyes closely when it comes to exercising the right to suffrage and choosing our leaders in the community.
We were introduced as early as grade school that the barangays (villages) are the basic units of our local government system (composed of zones or “purok,” “sitios” and “barrios” depending on each village’ characteristics). It has been derived from the term “Balanghay/Balangay” that describes the primitive ships of the predominantly Malay-race Filipinos who first settled here in the Philippines during the pre-colonization periods.
In our modern understanding, the barangay is the place where petty social disputes were settled – from neighbor harassments and stealing small-value things both inanimate and the living. But most importantly, it also shapes community policies similar to how our local and national governments are doing.
Yet unlike to their local and national counterparts, what should be our barangay leaders be doing other than what the local government code and other mandate related laws?
Other than concretizing social halls or otherwise basketball courts and barangay gymnasiums, barangay leaders from the chairman down to the councilpersons and other designated officers should be the first and foremost to represent the very people they co-exist and must not be used as mere puppets of a higher political lord.
Whatever the political color dominating in the local and national governments, they should see to it that all of the programs initiated by government agencies, barangay leaders should find means that their constituents must also be benefited and the programs must be delivered.
Now that the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) is on-hold, the more the barangay leaders should reconsider channeling its own local funds to benefit local livelihood and labor that will complement to existing ordinances and laws.
Another thing is to take into consideration in slowly investing in promoting clean and sustainable healthy environment by enforcing segregation of garbage. Who else are going to do it first and make it successful but the discipline and enforcement of the communities itself?
Most of all, perhaps the very core of being the chosen barangay official (given that it was won clean and bright), is to be humane yet just. In the local and national seats, we have witnessed how some politicians started out with a pure intent to public service but in the end, they were swallowed whole in the temptations of corruption and greed.
As barangay leaders, this should not happened, instead, they should remind the higher government leaders and politicians who should they be serving despite the odds.
Nobody said that the tasks of barangay leaders were easy and small-time (although sadly some barangays receive not much honoraria as public servants, much less to those staff).
In fact, it’s larger than life and people who should be running must bear in mind that it isn’t a job opportunity but rather a heartily acceptance of human imperfections and the struggle to guide the community.
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Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 28, 2013.