Stipulations on educational requirements for the proposed permanent position of barangay secretary may displace post incumbents if the old House Bill filed in 16th Congress will be carried on.
House Bill 2172 filed in 16th Congress by then Batangas Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza on July 31, 2013 that proposed the “Barangay Secretary and Treasurer Security of Tenure Act of 2013” includes a stipulation that “to qualify for the position of barangay secretary, a candidate must be a graduate of a bachelor’s degree in public administration or related courses.
This is aside from the requirement to be civil service eligible, of good moral character, and a qualified voter and an actual resident of the barangay concerned.
During the 4th Congress for Barangay Secretaries yesterday at the Bohol Cultural Center, First District Rep. Rene Relampagos presented the essence of the proposed law.
With plans to file a similar bill at the current 17th Congress, Relampagos said he might bring to Bohol, General Santos Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr. who chairs the House Committee on Local Government.
Relampagos said legislators recognize the significant role of barangay secretaries in government transactions and in strengthening communities that they should be accorded security of tenure.
He said it will be an opportunity for Acharon to discuss the proposal to make the position of barangay secretary permanent for the 17th Congress since Mendoza’s HB 2172 was overtaken by time at the 16th Congress.
For his part, Gov. Edgar Chatto said that the incumbent barangay secretaries who are short of the educational requirements may still qualify as there are ways to negotiate for the new version of the legislative measure that may be filed at the 17th Congress.
Length of service may be suggested to be considered in lieu of the bachelor’s degree in public administration or related courses or in lieu of civil service eligibility.
Chatto also said that in recognition of the vital role of barangay secretaries, he asked last year the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to pass a resolution requesting Congress to file a bill making the position of barangay secretary permanent.
House Bill 2172 introduced the idea to make the positions of barangay secretaries and treasurers permanent.
Aside from HB 2172, there was also HB 5287 filed by Palawan Rep. Frederick Abueg on December 11, 2014.
HB 2172, entitled “An Act Providing Security of Tenure to the Barangay Secretary and Barangay Treasurer”, proposed the legislation of the “Barangay Secretary and Treasurer Security of Tenure Act of 2013”.
It was overtaken by time as 16th Congress ended with it still pending with the Committee on Local Government since August 7, 2013.
HB 5287, entitled, “An Act Making the Barangay Secretary and the Barangay Treasurer Regular Plantilla Positions and Entitling them to Security of Tenure and other Benefits”, also remained pending with the Committee on Local Government since December 16, 2014.
In his explanatory note, Mendoza pointed out that “the barangay treasurer is entrusted with the funds and properties of the barangay, while the barangay secretary is the custodian of barangay documents” and that “both are accountable for tangible properties that may inadvertently get lost or misplaced along with the transfer of authority from one officer to the next after every election”.
“The treasurer and the secretary are burdened with the bulk of administrative work for the barangay but their compensation and benefits as such are inadequate for the amount of work they perform,” Mendoza added in the explanatory note for his bill.
It is on this that he filed the bill as way of giving “due recognition to the barangay treasurer and secretary for their untiring effort to keep the barangay machinery running by making said positions permanent positions subject to civil service laws and regulations”.
In HB 5287, Abueg proposed that the positions of barangay secretary and barangay treasurer be made regular plantilla positions and the persons given such positions “shall enjoy security of tenure and cannot be removed unless for a just cause”, and “shall likewise enjoy the benefits accorded to permanent government employees, subject to the guidelines of the Civil Service Commission (CSC)”.
Abueg cited that under Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code which is in effect at present, the barangay chairperson (barangay captain), with the concurrence of the majority of the Sangguniang Barangay members, has the power to appoint a barangay secretary and a barangay treasurer during his term.
“Present circumstances show that whenever there is a newly-elected barangay chairperson to assume office, there would also be a new barangay secretary and barangay treasurer to be appointed. This results to disorganization of records as well as finances of the barangay unit. Such a system unduly compromises the efficiency and effectiveness of our political unit at the barangay level,” Abueg pointed out.
He added that “every person to be appointed anew would require a certain amount of time to learn the fundamentals of the job before he can fully master the responsibilities attached with such positions”.
“The system would follow that of the Sangguniang Bayan and Sangguniang Panlalawigan where the secretary is a career official, having a regular item in the plantilla of personnel of the Sanggunian,” Abueg further suggested.