Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito called on his colleagues in Congress to consider institutionalizing allowances and benefits for barangay volunteers, especially the health workers and security personnel (tanod).
Ejercito said barangay health workers and barangay tanods are the country’s first line of defense against public emergencies.
He acknowledged that they were overworked and underpaid.
The lawmaker from San Juan stressed that barangay volunteers should be provided hazard pay, health insurance, and access to different medical services due to the risky nature of their work.
“It seems ambitious but I think it’s about time that we give the proper benefits and privileges to these people,” she said.
“We saw their value especially during pandemic wherein everybody were scared to come out. But they were there, risking their lives and even their families to serve. “
“It’s about time we compensate them properly,” he said.
He also urged the national government to study the feasibility of fixing a standard or minimum compensation package for barangay officials and volunteers.
Earlier today, Ejercito presided over the Senate Committee on Local Government’s public hearing on several bills seeking to create a Magna Carta for Barangays.
The said measures seek to recognize barangay officials as regular government employees, entitled to a variety of benefits and incentives, and establish local programs and mechanisms to assist barangays in fulfilling their autonomy and improving the welfare of their constituents.
For his part, after his recent return to the Senate, Ejercito filed Senate Bill No. 396, which seeks to protect barangay health workers, professionalize their services, and improve their incentives and benefits.
Once passed, every barangay health worker will be entitled to a monthly honoraria in the amount of not less than P3,000; discounts from commercial establishments; hazard allowance; subsistence allowance; transportation allowance; one-time retirement cash incentive; training, education, and career enrichment programs; health benefits; insurance coverage; sick, vacation, and maternity leaves; cash gifts; disability benefits; civil service eligibility; free legal services; and preferential access to loan facilities. Macon Ramos-Araneta