IN WHAT can only be seen as a blessing from the Lord and the judicious wisdom of City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, this lowly public servant has once again returned to the arena of the barangays this time as a Community Affairs Officer under the Special Services Division of the City Mayor’s Office.

I have missed serving the barangays of the city, having been once a staff member of the Liga ng Barangays for seven years under the supervision of three Liga presidents and ex-oficio city councilors.

The 128 barangays are wonderful communities each with their own respective set of barangay officials and constituency having their own territorial jurisdiction.

It’s actually a wonder how you can fit in 128 barangays in such a small locality as the city that comprises only 57.5 square kilometers in land area.

But that is the City of Baguio and whether the plan to rationalize the barangays and reduce their number will eventually succeed we can only marvel at our city having 128 little mayors (Punong Barangays) with their respective councils comprising seven barangay council persons or kagawads and with the addition of their own appointed barangay secretaries and treasurers.

Such is the political structure and mechanism in the barangay level that with just a few differences it is almost a clone of much larger and more complex government units like the City Government or even the provincial or national government.

This is why barangays are such vital communities from the over-all perspective of public governance and in the manner of the delivery of basic services to the people.

If we are to put faith in Republic Act 7160 otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991 then we realize that the barangays are the workhorse of the government in the realization of its projects, programs and objectives and without these basic political entities working in the grassroots level then no meaningful and beneficial service to the people can be truly achieved.

In fact the very definition of a barangay declares that: Section 384, Chapter I, Title I of Book III of the Local Government Code states, “As the basic political unit, the barangay serves as the primary planning and implementing unit of government policies, plans, programs, projects, and activities in the community, and as a forum wherein the collective views of the people may be expressed, crystallized and considered, and where disputes may be amicably settled.”

This then is the crux of the matter why I welcome my return to the barangays and the fruitful work to be done in these communities.

As I begin a new journey in government and public service I look back with a lot of fond memories, a lot of friends and colleagues in service, and a ton of memories worth saving and reminiscing for later days in my almost 15 year stint with the City Council of our City Government.

Of course I will miss my colleagues in the council (not in a physical way since my distance from them is only a couple of corridors away), in the time we spent trying our best to serve our people of Baguio in our own small way and also in the interactions that we had which resulted in a better understanding of our roles as employees in government.

As I begin my work for the barangays under the auspices of the Special Services Division of the City Mayor’s Office I welcome the opportunity to once more interact with our barangays officials and serve alongside them.