Barangay work is mostly done on a voluntary basis. The Barangay Tanods, health workers, and even street sweepers are paid such a small amount that they’re forced to find additional sources of livelihood. But the work they do in their barangay positions is one that already demands so much time and effort. It’s one that is integral to the function of the barangay.
The underappreciation of this actively harms these people. Failing to realize how important the work that they do is allows for policies which underpay and overwork them. Downplaying their efforts makes it seem justified and without a voice from the public to clamor for them, nothing much can be done.
But let’s put some faces to the stories. This isn’t just some hypothetical advocacy but is a cause that can make a difference for people. BaNat Partylist was able to truly show us the plight of these workers.
Romel Triguero, for example, is a Barangay Tanod. As such he oversees the organization of volunteers and other barangay tanods. He is primarily responsible for the security and order of the barangay. Yet for all the work he does he is given an honorarium of only Php 1,000 a month.
Brgy. Tanod Romel Triguero
Similarly, Jesus Andrade Sr. and Uldirico Bajon, two Barangay Lupons are charged with ensuring the order by acting as intermediaries. They preside over barangay disputes and disagreements. Despite serving in dangerous positions which demand high effort, they are only given Php 750 every 6 months.
Left: Brgy. Lupon Uldirico Bajon; Right: Brgy. Lupon Jesus Andrade Sr.
Laura Abardo, a Barangay Health worker, is regularly at the clinic tending to the sick and exposing herself to diseases. She may have the chance to earn more elsewhere but she chooses to dedicate her time in service to her barangay. For this, she earns a small compensation of Php 2,000 per month.
Brgy. Healthworker Laura Abardo
Lastly, a Barangay Street Sweeper named Rosalina Triguero is tasked with overseeing her barangay’s general cleanliness. According to her: “araw-araw akong nagwawalis para sa barangay naming, mula umaga hanggang hapon.” [I sweep for my barangay every day, from morning until afternoon.] For her, a whole day’s worth of work only amounts to Php 380.
Brgy. Street Sweeper Rosalina Triguero
For all these Barangay workers in Pasay City, the labor they put in seems to be driven by their goodwill more than anything else. None of them receive a regular salary, much less any actual benefits like healthcare or retirement plans. The reason this is so is because of the barangay budget granted from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).
There simply isn’t enough money in the budgets afforded each barangay to ensure their workers are properly compensated while still carrying out the necessary projects and programs. With a budget of a few million pesos a year being split among honorariums, utility bills, SK, and projects it shouldn’t come as a surprise that our barangays are floundering.
This is why we need to fight for a bigger budget for barangays. This is why we need to help Barangay Natin Partylist (BaNat) fight for it. They champion the elevation of our Barangay Workers as Regular Government Employees with corresponding salaries & benefits. They believe in just compensation for these workers and the protection of their dignity as laborers.
What do you think about this?
Photos courtesy of BaNat Partylist