By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Christopher “Bong” Go commended President Rodrigo Duterte for signing a law reforming the Sangguniang Kabataan, which includes the provision of monthly honoraria and other benefits for SK leaders.
“Kinokomendahan ko po si Pangulong Duterte sa pagpirma n’ya ng bagong batas na layuning bigyan ng honoraria at iba pang benepisyo ang mga miyembro ng Sangguniang Kabataan,” said Go.
“It is through our barangays and SKs that government programs and services reach our people. Nararapat lamang po na bigyan natin ng insentibo ang mga indibidwal na gumagawa ng mga programang ito para sa gobyerno,” he added.
Under Republic Act No. 11768, which Go co-authored in the Senate, all members of the SK will be paid an honorarium each month that will be deducted from the SK funds. This is in addition to any other compensation provided by law. The honorarium must be given at the conclusion of each SK meeting every month.
Meanwhile, 10% of the general fund of barangays must be allocated for their SK. The funds, which will be used for youth development and empowerment programs, must be paid in lump-sum by the Sangguniang Barangay.
Through local ordinances, local government units may also award additional honorarium and other benefits to the SK chairperson, as well as elected and appointed members. The honorarium will be subject to the post-audit jurisdiction of the Commission on Audit.
Other benefits that will be provided to SK members include civil service eligibility, exemptions from National Service Training Program and from normal lessons while attending regular or special meetings, PhilHealth coverage, among others.
Meanwhile, the law also specifies requirements for the posts of SK treasurer and secretary. Treasurers are required to have a business administration, accounting, finance, economics, or bookkeeping educational or professional background. Only if no one satisfies these criteria can the SK chairperson look for alternative candidates.
Earlier, Duterte also signed RA 11462, which sets the next barangay and SK elections from the second Monday of May 2020 to December 5, 2022, and then on the first Monday of December 2025 and every three years thereafter. The law extends the term of the current barangay and SK officials from two years to four years and a half. Go authored the Senate version of the measure.
“Mga barangays natin ang pinaka-frontline ng ating gobyerno sa paghahatid ng serbisyo at sa kampanya natin laban sa iligal na droga at kriminalidad. Kaya dapat lang na mabigyan natin sila ng oportunidad at sapat na oras upang makapagpatupad ng kani-kanilang mga programa at proyekto,” Go explained.
In 2019, Go also filed Senate Bill No. 391 or the Magna Carta for Barangays. The measure seeks to further strengthen the barangays, recognizing their critical role as the country’s basic political unit and frontliner in the delivery of government services.
Under the proposed measure, the Punong Barangay, members of the Sangguniang Barangay, chairperson of the Sangguniang Kabataan, barangay secretary and barangay treasurer in all barangays will be declared as regular government employees, and will be entitled to the salary, emoluments, allowances, such as hazard pay, Representation and Transportation Allowance, Personnel Economic Relief Allowance, Productivity Incentive Bonus, Clothing Allowance and 13th month pay, and other benefits, such as insurance, medical and dental coverage, retirement benefits and all other fringe benefits given to regular government employees. (ai/mtvn)