BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan underscored the importance of the long overdue merger of the city’s 128 barangays to enhance the development of the city and for the smallest political subdivisions to comply with the requirements enshrined in the Local Government Code of the Philippines.
The local chief executive admitted that there are barangays in the city that cannot actually comply with the minimum population requirement of 5,000 to allow their existence as independent barangays of the city thus incumbent barangay officials cannot actually claim the minimum honoraria allowed by law even if the said small barangays earn income and have a share of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) being provided by the national government.
“We need an ordinance defining the metes and bounds of the barangays to be merged so that we can subject the proposed merger plan to a plebiscite before it can be implemented. We hope that the next set of barangay officials prioritize the merger of the city’s barangays so that all the city’s barangays comply with the provisions of the law,” Domogan stressed.
Under Republic Act (RA) 7610 or the Local Government Code of 1991, barangays must have a minimum of 5,000 inhabitants to be able to legally exist as the smallest political subdivision in the current bureaucracy.
Further, punong barangays will be entitled to receive an honoraria equivalent to Salary Grade 25 in the government compensation set up while barangay kagawads are also entitled to get an honoraria equivalent to Salary Grade 12.
Domogan said the task force created to do consultations on the proposed barangay merger was on the final stages of determining the actual number of barangays after the merging but the recommendations were overtaken by events, particularly the upcoming May 14, 2018 synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.
According to him, downsizing the city’s 128 barangays to 40 to 50 barangays will hew more to the provisions of law and this will allow the barangays to have the capacity to help the city government implement high-impact development projects and improve the delivery of basic services to their constituency.
He reported that in the past, benefits granted to local governments were based on the number of existing barangays, thus, former local officials decided to create as many barangays as possible in the city for them to be able to acquire additional benefits from the national government then.
Domogan remains positive that the proposed merger of the city’s barangays, a standing proposal since 2000, will be given due course during the next term of barangay officials to realize the important role of barangays in the overall growth and development of the city through the utilization of available funds for high-impact development projects.
By Dexter A. See