December 5, 2023

The coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic that has gripped the world and forced global leaders to limit the movement of people should serve as an opportunity for our leaders, especially at the grassroots, to assess if they really know the people they govern.
We take particular attention to the barangay officials whose role in this health crisis has become so critical.
At this time when everyone is being encouraged to just stay at home as the first line of defense against Covid-19 while the government is doing its best to reach out to every family and provide for their needs to help them survive, a readily available registry that could pinpoint where the most vulnerable sectors are, will make the job easier and will make socio-economic intervention programs more inclusive.
We have seen the panic and how tough it is for authorities to make people comply with the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon, which has been running for three weeks now. The fear and anxiety brought about by the confinement is a valid response from a public that is mostly surviving on a hand-to-mouth existence or from an elder and individual whose survival includes a regular trip to the hospital or the drugstore.
We understand that the wisdom behind limiting the movement of people is to curtail the spread of the virus that causes the Covid-19, but such level of comprehension might not be the same for a family that survives on the daily take home pay of its main provider, as ordering them to stay at home can be construed as telling them not to eat or telling a sick person to just endure the pain.
If all barangays had a list of their most vulnerable sectors, it would be easier to bring their supplies to them and keep them home.
Just recently, the government, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development, rolled out its Social Amelioration Package, which, aside from providing assistance to beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilya, also intends to help other vulnerable sectors, including senior citizens, persons with disability, solo parents, and those working in the informal sector.
An existing barangay registry of these sectors, or a database of residents in general, would have helped in facilitating the implementation of this program.
Establishing a database for the vulnerable sectors in the barangay level can be done through the help of the city or municipal social welfare and development office and other concerned offices tasked to uplift or empower these sectors.
Such database is also useful in time of calamities and other forms of disasters when assistance for the vulnerable sectors from the local government units, especially in the barangays, is urgent.
This, among other reasons, is why we are pushing barangay officials to take seriously their roles as leader of the smallest unit of our society.
As managers of their areas of jurisdiction, they should be the first to know who are those in distress during calamities and health crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic.