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article imageIn this village, elected officials get no more than US$36 a month Special

By Antonio Figueroa     Dec 24, 2012 in Politics
Bislig - BISLIG CITY - In this small Philippine community, with roughly over 2,000 inhabitants, the measure of public service is not in big salaries.
In the village of Cumawas, Bislig City, in the eastern sector of Southern Philippines, the real face of public service takes center stage where an elected village receives only a salary of P1,500 (US$36) a month, and his kagawads or councilmen, get only P1,000 (US$24) monthly.
Curiously, the village does not receive any internal revenue allotment (IRA), a share from the national government that is shared with barangays (villages) based on a formula stipulated under the Local Government Code of 1991, also known as Republic Act No. 7160.
Anecito C. Balbuena, the incumbent village chief, said Cumawas was founded as a separate village on November 13, 1996, five years after the Code was enacted, and its creation was made through a resolution enacted by the provincial legislature of Surigao del Sur.
But the establishment of the new community, following a provision under the Code, did not allow it to get an IRA. The responsibility to finance the new village was then passed to its mother barangay, the city which has jurisdiction over it, and the province.
To ensure the village has funds, Balbuena explained, the mother barangay, which is Mangagoy, annually shares P75,000 (US$1,785), the province remits P100,000 (US$2,380), and the city sets aside P600,000 (US$14,285) from their respective coffers, for a total of only P775,000 (US$18,450) “to administratively run a full-pledged rural community.”
“Despite the handicap,” the community leader proudly declared, “the village, through the initiatives of out industrious elected officials, now owns a two-storey barangay hall, a multi-purpose covered court with a stage at one end, and a brand-new utility vehicle that doubles as ambulance and service car.”
In cases when the funds are low, the poorly paid public servants shell out personal funds for fuel and lubricants, medicine for indigent, handy repairs, and aid for those in distress!
In contrast, other village officials whose barangays have regular IRA shares, receive salaries ranging from a daily minimum wage of P300 (roughlyUS$7) to as high as P20,000 (US$475) monthly, depending on the urban classification of the city they are under.
Surely, some lessons can be learned from this selfless dedication.
More about Public service, bislig city, Southern philippines
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