In Focus SIGN OF THE CRUZ by: Danilo P. Cruz

How the Barangays Were Lost

[written by Danilo P. Cruz]

(1st of 3 parts)

LOCAL GOVERNMENT focus on the 42,036 barangay officials, all holdover for the past nine years, to solidify its mass base is an indirect admission that it has been using the wrong premises in guiding the country in nation-building.

Politicians who have to solicit public support during elections tended to coddle the idiosyncrasies of the people and instead of developing civic discipline and reminding them of their obligations, would resort only to inducements, exhortations, persuasion, incentives, subsidies, patronage of all sorts. Inevitably, all these lead to corruption.

The barangay is the basic political unit in the country being the “frontline of government.” This December, we will have the long-delayed election of officials of the barangay. If only these barangays perform their duties well, we will have better local governance and the national government will be spared on matters that local government units (LGUs) can very well do within their jurisdiction, such as public order and security.

But, sadly, barangays are now too politicized to do just that. Before long, barangay officials were well respected and did their jobs for free. Today, traditional politics came into the picture granting salaries and other benefits to barangay chairmen and kagawads who now wield power like kings and queens. “Bata ni mayor” is the key element and requirement. Furthermore, some barangays are now the fiefdom of these barangay officials where families and relatives are employees or seasoned workers. And observers say the training for the proverbial political ladder begins therein.

The barangay elections is just around the corner. If you want to change the way things are in your barangay, kick out your barangay chairman and infuse new blood in the barangay councils. You have that power, use it wisely. Get your voices heard. Yes, it is a non-partisan event but it is often violated because LGU executives want their own elected.

Remember, they are now paid and they are our servants. Drill that into them. If grassroots democracy is to flourish, we need to cut out clan politics. You want to help the national government pursue political reform and clean our political stables, let us put in our barangays proactive individuals, problem solvers, strict implementors of laws so that frontline services can be made a lot better. Then we can honestly say we have started the long-delayed political revolution in our time.** — Sign of the Cruz/Penpower Pilipinas

📸 Danilo P. Cruz/Facebook

DIYARYO MILENYO is a free and independent online media outfit that publishes events happening in the local communities and current issues that matter to the public with local, national and global implications. DIYARYO MILENYO is composed of volunteer journalists and community writers scattered in various parts of the Philippines. They report the news right and where it happens. It adheres to the standards and ethics of journalism. It imposes strict rules against attacking someone. Strictly adhering to publish good news only.

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