Press Release
September 19, 2007


After the Senate's rejection of the deferment of the barangay elections, Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. today pushed for insurance coverage under the PhilHealth of all active tanods and barangay health workers, considered as the unsung heroes of the 41,882 barangays nationwide.

The senator lamented that barangay tanods continue to receive meager benefits from government despite their critical service to their communities.

The lack of appropriate benefits including health insurance is one of grievances aired by barangay tanods during a meeting of Tanod Ako ni Kap, a non-government organization founded by Revilla which aims to promote the welfare of tanods in the country.

Revilla said that most barangay tanods receive inadequate allowance or honoraria such that they cannot afford the cost of hospitalization and medicines.

He said that even in big cities like Pasay City , tanods typically receive a monthly honorarium of only P600 to P1,000.

"They risk their lives and limbs 24/7 in protecting the community and assuring the security of our neighborhoods, and yet what do we give them in return?" Revilla asked.

According to Revilla, barangay tanods have very limited benefits and privileges according to Revilla under Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991.

Revilla filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 1441 which seeks to amend RA 7160 and provide health insurance coverage and other benefits to the all active barangay tanods.

Under SB 1441, tanods will also be given free legal assistance for cases they will face arising from the pursuit of their community-based duties. Revilla also proposes for the government to provide discounts for legitimate dependent children who will pursue college education in a state-sponsored university. They will also be given preference in memberships into livelihood projects initiated by the national or local government.

The lawmaker also filed SB 1573 which aims to give similar health insurance coverage to barangay health workers.

He explained that Republic Act (RA) 7883 or the Barangay Health Workers' Benefits and Incentives Act of 1995 does not coverage heath insurance benefits to barangay health workers. "The law covers allowances, training, civil service eligibility, free legal services and access to loans. But it misses one of the most essential components of one's existence which is health and well-being," he added.

Senators on Tuesday junked the proposal of the Lower House to postpone the elections of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan which is scheduled on October 29.

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