Vice-presidential frontrunner Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero said barangay officials deserve a fixed monthly salary and membership to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) in order to qualify for retirement benefits.
Providing pension and perks to barangay officials is on the agenda of Escudero and his presidential running mate, Sen. Grace Poe, should they win in the May 9 national elections.
Escudero said they want to place barangay executives under the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) so they may receive benefits given to GSIS members upon retirement.
“Layunin naming bigyan ng pagkilala ang serbisyo ng mga opisyal ng barangay at ang kanilang pagiging frontline sa pagbibigay ng basic services sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay rin sa kanila ng karampatang sweldo upang may basehan ang paggawad sa kanila ng pensyon matapos nilang manilbihan,” Escudero said.
“Mahigit kumulang 20 taon silang nanilbihan sa barangay pero pag-retiro nila ay ni piso o singkong duling, wala silang matatanggap,” he lamented.
Under the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act No. 8291 or the GSIS Act of 1997, barangay officials are among those excluded from the compulsory coverage of the pension fund, primarily because they are not receiving a fixed monthly compensation.
Escudero said that if there are public servants who deserve to be compensated, it should be the barangay officials who are at the forefront of government service and they serve the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Ang kapitan at kagawad namin, matutulog na lang may kumakatok pa. Tulog pa, may gumigising na,”he said.
The Local Government Code provides that barangay officials should only receive an honorarium, and not salaries. At present, a barangay captain get an honorarium of at least P1,000 per month while the councilors, the treasurer and secretary each receive P600 monthly.
Escudero, however, said a law is in order to include barangay officials in the salary standardization system.
He noted that the Department of Budget and Management, in the local budget circulars it issued, pegged the maximum rate of honoraria for barangay officials at the first step of Salary Grade (SG) 14 for the barangay chairman, and the first step of SG 10 for other barangay officials.
Unfortunately, he said, certain problems still arise with respect to the compensation of barangay officials despite the issuance of the DBM circulars.
Under the proposed 2015 SSL, Step 1 of SG 14 is equivalent to P24,141 and Step 1 of SG 10 is P17,730/Office of Senator Chiz Escudero