One of the democratic mechanisms instituted in the local government code that grants citizens direct power over government affairs is the barangay assembly.
Under Republic Act 7160, it is mandated that there shall be a barangay assembly.
This is a body of Filipino citizens, actually residing in the barangay for at least six months, at least fifteen years and more importantly, duly registered in the list of barangay assembly members.
What is the barangay assembly for?
It is an avenue where ordinary citizens gather and meet to discuss pressing concerns ion the barangay, and help guide the sanggunian in its decisions over activities that affect their welfare.
What are the powers the barangay assembly?
The barangay assembly initiates legislative processes.
The barangay assembly recommends to the sangguniang barangay the adoption of measures for the welfare of the barangay.
The barangay assembly even decides on the adoption of initiative as a legal process, whereby voters of the barangay may directly propose, enact or amend an ordinance.
The barangay assembly is also mandated to hear and pass upon the semestral report of the sanggunian barangay concerning its activities.
Under the law,Â Â the barangay assemblyÂ is mandated to meet at least twice a year.
If there is a pressing problem affecting the barangay, for instance, like the construction of a jetty port within the barangay, this is best tackled by the holding of a barangay assembly.
In the barangay assembly, the actual residents can express their views, have their sentiments heard Â and have it duly recorded as a legal document.
The punong barangay calls the assembly.
It can also be called by at least fourÂ members of the sanggunian barangay.
It can also be called by a petition of at least five percent of the assembly members, in case the barangay does not want to hold an assembly
The barangay assembly is a mechanism of direct democracy, where the people themselves are empowered to take action over matters that affect their welfare.
Whatever resolution is adopted in the barangay assembly, it can be recommend and adopted by the sangguniang barangay, and submitted to the higher levels of government like the municipality, the province, and even members of the Senate and Congress, so that appropriate action can be taken.
It is not unlikely for Congress or the Senate to take action upon a resolution of a barangay assembly, especially if the circumstances warrant.
Action may include the holding of a congressional hearing by a committee, or be passing a resolution directing the proper government agencies to address the concerns of the barangay residents.
Thus, if the residents of a barangay have views to express over affairs in their own barangay, it is best to take on the proper legal processes so their concerns can be addressed.