February 24, 2024

The 2023 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections have been concluded, but the duty of the voters does not end with the proclamation of the winning candidates.
Without much electoral protests recorded by the Commission on Elections, the local electoral boards proclaimed on Oct. 30 those who were chosen to lead in the country’s 42,001 barangays.
In the Cordillera, there are 1,178 barangays that will be governed by the barangay officials who were given the mandate to steer their communities, hopefully through progressive and efficient leadership.
Just as the elected barangay and SK officials prepare to assume their respective posts, voters should equally be ready to fulfill an obligation that comes with the exercise of their right to suffrage – ensure that those given the power will work for the best interest of their communities and their constituents more than their personal agenda.
Barangay officials, aside from the being the go-to peacekeepers in the communities, are obliged to fulfill other functions, such as ensuring the delivery of health and social services, hygiene and sanitation, and solid waste management, and agricultural support and infrastructure services, among other crucial services.
Leading a barangay is not a walk in the park. Being the basic political unit, the barangays are the primary planning and implementing arm of government policies, plans, and programs in the communities.
This makes the role of barangay officials significant in attaining development, and therefore requires that the ones leading are efficient and effective at their job.
It is also important to note that barangays receive a significant amount from the National Tax Allocation of local government units, which has seen an increase since the implementation of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling.
In 2022, the region’s barangays were allotted a share of P4.08 billion from the Cordillera’s P28.7B NTA allocation.
Also, the salaries of barangay officials have been adjusted with the issuance by the Department of Budget Management of the Modified Salary Schedule for Local Government Personnel.
With the adjustment of the honorarium rates, barangay officials can receive a compensation from as low as P13,787 to as high as P33,843 monthly depending on the income classification of the local government unit they belong to.
For the longest time, barangay officials have survived on minimal honoraria, but continued to serve their communities.
With the regularization of their compensation, we hope the dedication we saw from the grassroots officials will be the same commitment that we can witness from the newly-elected barangay officials.
To make this happen, the voters who chose these barangay and SK officials should remain watchful and continue to demand from their local leaders the efficient and effective governance they deserve.
Catapulting leaders into power is one thing, making sure they do the job for the common good is another thing.
After all, just as participating in any election – no matter how small – is essential, so is the duty to make those in power responsible and accountable for their actions and inactions.
With cooperation and collective vigilance, we hope to see barangay and SK officials who will remain loyal to public interest until their terms expire in December 2025.