INTERIOR and Local Government officer-in-charge Eduardo Año has directed each barangay to create a team that will conduct an inventory of its properties and records in preparation for a possible change of leadership after the elections scheduled for May.

Año said the Barangay Inventory Team (BIT) will be composed of the barangay chairman as head and two barangay councilors, a barangay secretary, a barangay treasurer, a bookkeeper or city or municipal representative and at least two civil society organization (CSO) representatives as members. The CSO representatives should come from either a faith-based organization or the Barangay Development Council.

This would ensure smooth and systematic transition from the outgoing to the incoming barangay officials, assuming the elections would push through.

A bill has been filed in the House seeking another postponement of the barangay elections to allow Congress to focus on the task of revising the 1987 Constitution.

As of Sunday, February 11, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is still preparing for the conduct of the elections.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said filing of candidacy is scheduled from April 14 to 20 while the campaign period will take place on May 4 until May 12. The election period will be from April 14 to May 21.

The Barangay and SK elections have been postponed twice, in October 2016 and October 2017 after President Rodrigo Duterte expressed belief that drug syndicates may influence the electoral process particularly by funding the candidates who can protect their activities.

Año said among the functions of the BIT is to ensure the completeness of all barangay properties, financial records and documents (BPFRDs) that includes legislative and administrative records, transcript or minutes of meetings, list and status of complaints filed before the Lupong Tagapamayapa, updated registry of barangay inhabitants, list or inventory of current local or international development assisted projects and all other documents containing barangay transactions.

He said the BIT shall also see to it that all properties of the barangay, supplies, finances that are entrusted to concerned barangay officials are properly accounted and turned over.

“This is also part of our efforts to sustain transparent and accountable local governance at the barangay level and to further ensure that all concerned barangay officials exercise due diligence in using barangay funds and properties,” said Año.

To ensure compliance of village chiefs, Año has ordered the creation of a city or municipal audit and transition teams which will supervise the BITs in their areas of jurisdiction.

Año warned that the city or municipal audit and transition teams will submit the names of the barangay officials who will fail to follow the order, which may be cited as basis for the filing of criminal charges in accordance with the Revised Penal Code and other existing laws. (SunStar Philippines)