Press Release
July 16, 2012


OLONGAPO CITY -- The barangay as the basic political unit should be vested with more powers, according to Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, PDP Laban President.

In remarks before the Regional Congress of the Liga ng mga Barangay, Bicol Region held at Olongapo City Convention Center, Pimentel urged the amendment of the Local Government Code to enhance the powers of the barangays and the barangay leaders.

Among his proposals, he said, is to increase the share of local government units from 40% to 50% of the internal revenue taxes collected by the national government.

If Senate Bill 2987 is approved, Pimentel said, the share of local government units, including barangays, would be increased to several billions of pesos.

"More money going to the coffers of the barangays should translate into more development for their constituencies that will address the problem of poverty throughout the nation in a more direct manner," the senator from Mindanao said.

Pimentel pointed out that barangay captains are the only officials of government who are vested with executive, legislative and judicial powers.

Thus, barangay captains wield tremendous powers that they can use for the good of their constituents.

But barangays should be given more powers under the LGC, Pimentel said.

One, the barangay should have the power and the authority to supervise the activities of the police assigned in its territory. After all, barangay captains and members of the sanggunian are persons in authority as ordained by law. And police officers are by law agents of persons in authority.

Two, barangay officials should also be empowered to identify and actively prosecute traffickers of women and children in their respective areas.

Three, barangay officials should be given the power to supervise the activities of health, agriculture and social welfare officials in the barangays in coordination with the proper city or municipal officials.

And four, the taxing power of barangays should be expanded to cover businesses with maximum yearly sales of not exceeding P5 million in lieu of the archaic P50 thousand limits in city barangays and P30 thousand in municipal barangays.

Pimentel lamented that some barangays do not allocate funds for economic development while others are not transparent in the use of the funds and do not publicly account for the use of their barangay funds.

"With power comes responsibility. And with more powers come more responsibilities", told the barangay officials, as he reminded them that even local treasurers, including barangay treasurers are mandated by the Local Government Code to post the itemized monthly collections and disbursements within 10 days following the end of every month and for at least two consecutive weeks at prominent places in the barangay hall, plaza and main street.

"Accountability compels compliance with official duty. Without accountability, corruption will, more often than not, taint official acts," the senator said.

Barangay leaders, particularly in the rural areas, Pimentel said, should take an active role in socio-economic development, which consists of "increasing the productive output per person, and eliminating poverty, unemployment, inequality and the deprivation of essential needs of the masses of the people."

Pimentel asked the barangay leaders to tap non-governmental and civil society groups in creating economic opportunities at the barangay level.

"Economic empowerment must be viewed as a stepping stone to political empowerment -- the rationale for strong civil society participation that ensures democratic governance," he said.

Pimentel urged the private sector "to play a bigger role in realizing the economic potential of barangays and our people by providing entrepreneurship training and skills enhancement, market development, product development and technology intervention, network linkages and access to capital."

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