The Sangguniang Barangay

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By Rox Peña


Thursday, December 5, 2013

AT 12 NOON last November 30, re-elected and newly elected barangay officials all over the country assumed office. By this time many have conducted their first council session. Veterans have started discharging their duties while neophytes will most likely spend the first few months learning the ropes.

The priorities upon assumption into office will be the adoption of the Internal Rules of Procedures as required by the Local Government Code.

After that the next immediate task will be the preparation of the Barangay Budget for 2014. It should be passed on or before December 31, otherwise they will be forced to work on a re-enacted budget.

In Mabalacat, the City Council has recognized the importance of these two pressing tasks so the Vice Mayor initiated a whole day orientation seminar last Wednesday, December 4. We cannot wait for the formal seminar offered by the DILG. The budget is an Appropriation Ordinance which the City Council is tasked by law to review. Our job will be easier if the budgets are prepared properly.

As Chairman of the Committee on Rules, I was tasked to give a briefing on the preparation of the Barangay Council Internal Rules of Procedure.

The temporary absence of the Sangguniang Kabataan Chairman in the Council necessitates the amendment of their old Internal Rules. After my lecture, the Assistant Budget Officer of the City proceeded with the orientation on the budget preparation.

The Barangay Council plays an important role in governance. They are the ones directly in touch with the people. They are in the front line of public service. This role was highlighted last Tuesday, December 03, during the En Banc Committee hearing of the Mabalacat City Council. A complaint against a Metal Foundry which was allegedly releasing obnoxious smoke was brought by a Barangay Council before the Sanggunian Panlungsod.

During the hearing, it was emphasized that the Barangay can act on its own by refusing to issue a barangay clearance which is a pre-requisite for the issuance of a Mayor’s Permit. They must have a valid reason for doing that though. In this particular case, the foundry has no valid air pollution source permit and expired sanitary and fire permits. The renewal of Business permits will be less than a month from now.

Last month, a piggery farm was also the subject of complaint by the residents of a barangay. The issue was also tackled by the council En Banc. The piggery had no Business Permit because it has no clearance from the barangay. The City Council gave the piggery owner one week to talk to the affected residents after which it will take action. After the lapse of the deadline, the City Council was given a copy of an agreement between the farm owner and the Barangay Council for the 3-year gradual phase out of the said farm.

In these two particular cases, the City Council merely acted as a facilitator. It goes to show that the barangay council can resolve problems in their level if they have the political will.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on December 06, 2013.


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