Proposed ordinance seeks to collect fees for peacekeepers

A CITY ordinance aiming to collect P20 from every household to augment honoraria for village peacekeepers was proposed before the Baguio City Council.

Neophyte councilor Francisco Roberto Ortega VI proposed in the City Council an ordinance seeking to collect P20 from every household.

“The ordinance seeks to resemble our barangay tanods (village peacekeepers) and fund their honorarium with the help of every residence in the community. It is important that this noble intention be realized and implemented for the prevention of crime and promotion of public safety.

Our barangay tanods play an important role in the community. They are the watchmen of our barangays. They help the City Government in its efforts to deter the criminality in our community,” Ortega said.

The proposed ordinance explained in some barangays that the barangay council contributes from their own honorarium every month to fund their tanods. However, most of the barangays have limited funds and insufficient income to defray the honorarium of the barangay tanods, thus they opted to dissolve their barangay peacekeepers.

“Although they are not part of the police force, the barangay tanods augment the police, they perform functions the police cannot immediately discharge. They work more than the prescribed hours with risks involved in order to promote public safety and protect the lives and properties of police in the community,” Ortega added.

Michael Lawana, President of the Baguio City Association of Barangay Councils said the new Commission on Audit procedures have affected the number of village peacekeepers.

Lawana said before there were over 1,000 peacekeepers in the 128 barangays but because of new COA procedures there are now only roughly about 300 left with budget allotted for their honoraria down 300 pesos.

The proposed ordinance stipulated that the delegated purok leader or barangay kagawad shall keep the records of the fees collected and the same shall be updated from time to time and shall be readily available for transparency purposes.

Upon completion of the collection of the fees, the proposed ordinance added that the purok leader or barangay kagawad shall submit the sum of the contributions to the punong barangay with the presence of the rest of the members of the barangay council and the station commander in their district to stand as witnesses for the turnover of the collected amount.

But the residences from subdivisions are exempted from the collection of the said fee. Considering that they usually pay for their own security guards and they limit the entry of outsiders to their subdivisions unless, the resident of the homeowners or any duly authorized representative request for the night patrol of the tanods in their subdivision.

The proposed ordinance emphasized the duties and functions of the barangay tanod. The tanods will conduct a patrol in the specific barangay from 9 pm to 5 am; they will be divided into two shifts, to ensure that tanods are well rested and efficient in their assigned tasks, ; enforce laws relative to the protection of lives and properties in their barangays; coordinate with the barangay council and police authorities in the drive against all forms of crimes; monitor the presence of suspicious persons and illegal activities and report to proper authorities and perform other functions as may be provided by law.

The purok leader will choose the barangay tanods together with the residents in the purok where the nomination shall be raised.

Selected barangay tanods in each of the city’s barangays shall be appointed for a period of three years and may be renewed unless revoked earlier for valid reasons such as violation of law, particularly the commission of crimes involving moral turpitude, gross neglect of duty, health issues, and other causes determined by the barangay council and voluntary resignation. (With reports form Dexter See)
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