Politics, ‘slow’ Congress rob 12 Taguig barangays of IRA

Part One

Almost a decade after their creation, 12 barangays (villages) in Taguig City—including the barangay that has jurisdiction over the Bonifacio Global City (BGC)—are still not getting their internal revenue allotment (IRA) up to now.

Thus, the officials and employees—and, of course, even the tanods (watchmen)—of all these barangays have not been receiving their monthly “honorarium” since 2009 that should have come from their IRA pursuant to Republic Act (RA) 7610, or the Local Government Code of 1991.

This was intimated by a number of officials and employees of these barangays to the BusinessMirror.

No honorarium each month

Vicente Espital, chairman of Barangay San Miguel, told this writer in a text message that their honorarium should be given on a regular basis—which is every month—if they are getting their IRA.

Honorarium is the legal term for the regular monthly salary of barangay officials and employees, as stipulated in RA 7160.

The principal author of the code was former Senate President Aquilino Q. Pimentel Jr.

The Local Government Code of 1991 states that the IRA is the single source of the monthly “honorarium” (salary) of the officials, employees and tanods of the more than 42,000 barangays in the country.

The rate would depend on the rank (barangay captain, kagawad, secretary, treasurer and tanod). The punong barangay (barangay chairman) gets the highest honorarium, while the tanod has the lowest, which would only range from P2,000 to P3,000 each month, as far as Taguig City is concerned.

This is how important their share in the internal revenue allotment is, Espital stressed.

Cayetano’s honorarium delayed by four months

Espital, however, admitted that they are not completely without income because they still receive honorarium from the office of Mayor Maria Laarni Cayetano.

But, it has a big problem because the release of the funds from Cayetano was “always delayed for several months.” Of course, the barangay officials do not know the reason for the delay.

Espital’s disclosure was confirmed by another barangay official, who requested not to be named. “The delay is four months already,” the official shared.

Gerlie Dolor, secretary of Barangay Central Bicutan, said Barangay Central Chairman Jennifer Alit has told them a number of times that, due to the absence of their IRA, the 12 barangays could not ascertain when would be the next release of their honorarium.

“In case we get our allowance, it would only cover the month of September,” Dolor added.

Ver Florano, public information officer of Barangay Pinagsama, told this journalist that the honorarium of the barangay officials, employees and the tanods is being shouldered by Cayetano’s office, but there are always complaints over the delays in the release.

Cayetano’s office refused to issue an explanation about the delay, as the mayor is “busy on important matters,” according to a staff of the Mayor’s Office.

Florano said their barangay officials and employees have received their honorarium last December, but it was only half of the honorarium for the month of September.

Espital strongly believes that this snail-pace release of the honorarium will continue, as long as the 12 barangays have no IRA.

Florano expressed hope Congress will approve pending proposed laws for the creation of the 12 barangays in Taguig City, in the process authorizing regular release of their IRA allotment.

The origin of the 12 barangays

Aside from Barangays San Miguel and Central Bicutan, the 10 other barangays that also do not have IRA are Barangays New Lower Bicutan, North Daang-Hari, South Daang-Hari, Pinagsama, Forth Bonifacio, Central Signal, North Signal, South Signal, Katuparan and Tanyag.

According to Espital, San Miguel was carved out from Barangay Hagonoy.

Central Bicutan was originally part of Barangay Upper Bicutan, Dolor said.

Mara Makiling, an employee of the Taguig City Government’s Barangay Affairs Office, said the North Daang-Hari and South Daang-Hari came from Barangay Bagong Tanyag.

Pinagsama was carved out from Barangay Western Bicutan.

Barangay Signal was divided to Barangays Katuparan, Central Signal, North Signal and South Signal.

Barangay Forth Bonifacio was the product of the creation of the BGC, a mixed commercial and residential area, which was formerly part of Barangay Western Bicutan.

Created in 2009 due to political reason

The 12 barangays were formally created out of the original 18 barangays in 2009 after the Taguig Council passed City Ordinances 24-27, 57-61, 67-69, and 78, all were series of 2008, which legally authorized then-Mayor Sigfrido Tiñga to put up new barangays.

The creation was done following the transformation of the municipality of Taguig into a city in 2008, four years after the cityhood case finally won in a plebiscite facilitated by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

According to Espital, there was “no basis” in the creation of the new barangays, other than politics.

Espital strongly believes that its purpose was “for political reasons lang po [only]…kaya nga po [that is why] until now…we don’t have IRA” eight years after their creation.

He, however, refused to pinpoint who was the politician who had the “political motive” in the creation of the barangays.

Old Tiñga’s lone battle

Kagawad Larry German of Barangay Central Signal told this writer that the “brain in the creation of additional barangays” was former Supreme Court Justice and former Congressman Dante Tiñga.

German said the creation of the new barangays was “connected to the old Tiñga’s battle to transform Taguig into a city when he was still a lawmaker.”

Tiñga became Taguig-Pateros’s representative to the House of Representatives from 1987 to 1998.

It was Tiñga’s strong belief that if Taguig would become a city, its annual income would increase and its economic standing would rise up, as well.

His argument was true because the Local Government Code of 1991 stated that one of the conditions for the cityhood of a municipality is increase in taxes and subsequently economic boom. Before he became a lawmaker, Tiñga was a top-notch lawyer that led him to become the dean of the College of Law of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Manila from 1989 to 1993.

He also became dean of the College of Law of the University of the East from 2001 to 2003.

While still a congressman, Tiñga won his fight to hold a plebiscite for the transformation of Taguig into a city.

Tiñga’s determination and persistent crusade paid off, as the Comelec set the plebiscite in 1999, which suggested that it was Tiñga’s victory.

To be continued

 

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