Legarda to Liga ng Barangay : Plant Trees! Introduces Botika ng Barangay Bill, Recommends That Barangay Officials Be Regular Government Employees

July 30, 2010

Speaking before the Liga ng Barangay’s 3rd National Convention today at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia, Pasay City, Legarda said “The trees will increase the soil’s water retention in watersheds, prevent landslides, and protect the ecosystems in your communities.”
“One of the first 10 bills which I filed during this 15th Congress is Senate Bill No. 6 the Barangay Greening and Forest Land Rehabilitation Act which recognizes the important role of our local governments, especially the barangays as the primary initiators in the formulation and implementation of climate change action.
“Local greening programs should aim to build, develop and maintain forest parks in the provincial, city, municipal and barangay parks, along road sides, in elementary school grounds and other public open spaces where appropriate.”
“I hope that your barangays will think of creative ways to lessen and prevent these disasters and their consequences.”
“Let us work together. Let us start information drives within your communities to promote that local greening should actively be sustained. Let us spread the word about the use of efficient reforestation technologies and educate especially the youth on the necessary steps on how to protect the remaining natural forests and national parks in your areas.”
In recognition of their being the frontliners of each battle disaster after disaster and the first ones to respond to the people’s call for help, Legarda informed the officers and members of the Liga ng Barangay led by National President Janvier M. Echiverri that she also filed Senate Bill No. 1336 or the Magna Carta for Barangays which proposes that all barangay officials be considered as regular government employees with fixed salaries, allowances, insurance, medical and dental coverage, retirement benefits and other fringe benefits to which a regular government employee is entitled.
“The Barangay is the smallest and most basic political and administrative unit of the government. You are the ones who effectively reach out to the people, knock on their doors, and talk to them face to face.”
“Conversely, they come to you to voice out their problems and ask for your help. You know their concerns and their needs. You know if they have grievances against the government or its officials. You have in you a very powerful weapon, one that all servants of the country ought to have – you know the heart of our citizens and know what they need in life – you hold the pulse of the people.”
“I filed a resolution calling on the Secretaries of the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Department of Budget and Management to address the issues regarding the appropriation of funds for the grant of mandated benefits to barangay officials.”
“It is your right as per the Local Government Code of 1991.”
“This benefit is intended for the punong barangay, sangguniang barangay members, sangguniang kabataan chairman, the barangay secretary and treasurer, “Legarda clarified.
“To empowering the barangays and to strengthen the health of its people its the medical service providers, I also filed Senate Bill 1394 or the Barangay sa Botika Bill for better access to low-priced generic drugs through the establishment of public drugs stores in every barangay in the country.
“The areas that have high poverty and population rates, those with limited medical and/or health services, and those coming from economically depressed areas will be given highest priority in the creation of a Barangay Botika.”
“To battle the high levels of malnutrition in our country, I also filed S.B. No. 9 creating the position of Barangay Nutrition Worker, who will educate the people on selected topics such as nutrition, health, food production, and environmental sanitation. ”
“Said Barangay Nutrition Worker shall be entitled to a monthly allowance, will undergo various training programs, and may apply for a scholarship in any state college or university to continue further studies on nutrition and health. By arming our citizens with knowledge on how to fight malnutrition, we will be able to strengthen our peoples and lessen their vulnerability against disease and other health problems. ”
Legarda concluded, “The barangay workers are the silent workers in the grassroots level who ought to be acknowledged for being a vital element in the development of this country.”