Former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Tuesday recognized the crucial role of barangay officials in the delivery of government services as he also vowed to push for the welfare for barangay officials.
“Kayo yung pinaka-importante sa lahat. Kayo yung kaharap ng tao. Kayo yung nagdadala ng serbisyo sa inyong mga barangay. Sa totoo lang kayo ang pinaka-importanteng opisyal dito sa Pilipinas,” Go said in his message at the 2019 First Provincial Summit of the Provincial Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas-Camarines Chapter, Region 5 at the City State Tower in Ermita, Manila.
With such an important role, Go said barangay officials deserve better benefits and support from the government.
The former presidential aide expressed support to the proposed enactment of a Magna Carta for Barangay Officials.
“Isa sa aking priority ang Magna Carta for barangay officials. Alam nyo bakit? Naiintindihan ko yung trabaho ng mga barangay captains,” Go said, recalling that during his stint as top aide of then Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, he usually coordinates with barangay officials in providing assistance to those needing help.
“Kaya ang mga barangay captains sa Davao ang tawag ko suki kasi umaga pa lang andun na sa opisina ko hanggang sa pag-uwi ko nasa ibaba ng hagdan, ihahatid talaga ako at kasama dun ang paghatid nila ng serbisyo sa mga tao nila,” said Go, who is gunning for a slot in the Senate.
Among others, Go wants his proposed Magna Carta to improve the benefits for barangay officials, as well as Sangguniang Kabataan officials.
He pointed out that they only receive honoraria but are not entitled to salary, hazard pay and other benefits enjoyed by other government officials and employees.
Lifting the cap
Go is also proposing to lift the cap on the maximum number of barangay tanods that can be appointed per barangay, currently pegged at 20.
He said barangays with bigger area and higher crime incidents should be allowed to appoint additional tanods.
Go also said he would look into the possibility of extending the term of incumbent barangay officials due to the postponement of the past brgy elections which cut their term shorter.
Meanwhile, he also appealed to the barangay officials to support President Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs and criminality.
“Kapitan, kayo po ang makakatulong kay Pangulong Duterte. Kayo po ang makakaamoy sa barangay ninyo kung sino yung pusher. Alam nyo kung ayaw nyo talaga (sa droga), kaya ninyong gawin,” Go said, as he vowed to support the administration’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.
As part of such campaign, Go said barangay officials are also instrumental in helping the rehabilitation of drug users who have decided mend their ways.
“Yung mga gustong magbagong buhay, tulungan po natin sila. May mga rehab centers naman po tayo,” he said.
Aside from promoting the welfare of barangay officials and supporting the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs and criminality, Go said also included among his top priorities is the improvement of health services, particularly through the Malasakit Center.
A Malasakit Center is a one-stop-shop bringing together in one room all concerned government agencies such as the DOH, DSWD, PCSO, and Philhealth to make it easier and faster for poor patients to avail of medical and financial assistance from the government.
Go said he wants a law enacted to establish Malasakit Center in more provinces and key urban centers of the country to serve more Filipino people.
“Twenty five na po ang ating Malasakit Center at meron na po sa Legazpi City. Soon, magkakaroon na rin po sa Camarines Sur,” he said.
He assured barangay officials that they could count on him to be their bridge to President Duterte and he would be willing to assist them as much as he could.
“Kayo pong taga-Camarines Sur, huwag po kayong mag-aatubiling lumapit sa amin, sa abot po ng aming makakaya ay gagawin at gagawin namin. Wala po kaming ibang hangarin ni Pangulong Duterte kundi kabutihan ng bawat Pilipino dahil mahal namin kayo,” he said.
Other priority concerns in Go’s legislative agenda include programs on agriculture, education, housing, long-term sports development, anti-corruption drive, localized peace talks, fire protection and prevention, creation of a Department of OFW and improved benefits for senior citizens.