MAGANES: No baranagay election in October?

July 17, 2017 at 8:43 am Leave a comment


vir maganes

 Last July 11 to 13, the Liga ng Mga Barangay sa Pilipinas convened at the Manila Hotel in Manila for a “Strategic Consultation and Workshop” on  Federalism, Barangay Reform and Role of Barangays on National Security Concerns. The consultation and workshop was undertaken purposely to make the barangay leaders aware on federalism, which is being pursued by President Rodrigo R. Duterte. On the sideline is for them to know the barangay reforms that are being initiated by the Congress and for  them to know their participation on national security concerns.

Federalism, is a form of government structure in which regions will be formed into independent states, having their own laws that are applicable in the regions- distinct and separate from the others. There will be also federal laws that are applicable nationwide. This federalism is prominent in USA and other European countries but the systems are not identical. Federalism in USA is the most popular in which the more than 50 states are operating on their own unless federal laws are applicable to all of them.

I still have to know what model is being pursued by the Duterte administration although I find federalism amusing. Do we really need federalism as a form of government these days? We have already the Local Government Code of 1991, which granted autonomy to all local government units (LGUs) in the country. However, because of too much politics, many provisions of the Code are not efficiently implemented. Why not strengthen the implementation of the Code as well as the created autonomous regions of Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao?

Personally, I find federalism as not the solution of the existing problems in the country. We are besieged with politics that have not matured for many years. Along with the immaturity of our political system, we don’t have a strong bureaucracy coupled with weak electoral systems. Federalism is not a panacea to the ills in the government although there might be some noble reasons behind it why it is being pursued by the government.

Going back to bureaucracy, what we need is a strong one that is not corrupt. We are aware that corruption is rampant in all levels in the bureaucratic systems. Corruption is not confined to the political leaders as even the lowly employees want their share in the corruption system that is seemingly institutionalized in the government. We need to overhaul the bureaucratic system by taking in new breed of public servants who are not prone to corruption and have the guts to fight corruption systems in their offices. Corruption in government bleeds our country’s coffer. How many programs and projects that have been implemented without any taint of corruption in them

How about political and electoral reforms? We are a country where politicians are easily swayed to transfer to other political parties for convenience. Politicians from national down to the local levels are conveniently transferring to other parties knowing that they will be protected and could corner favors from the sitting powers. Our political system is a politics of convenience and patronage. We should shift to a two-party system to strengthen our political base. With that patronage politics will be confined to the political parties and take into consideration their platforms of governance.

Now let’s go to barangay reforms. I was told by the attendees to the consultation and workshop that one of the topics tackled was the postponement of the barangay elections that is scheduled on October 23 this year. According to them, they were briefed that it will be postponed until 2018 or 2020 making them grinned profusely. Little did they know that the postponement is still hanging as of now because of the absence of an enabling law. Could Congress be able to craft a law postponing it?

Congress will still convene on July 23 in time for the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Duterte. Congress’ House of Representatives and Senate will draft and pass a bill for the postponement. There will be deliberations on that and maybe it will take a month to do it. By the time it will be ready for the consolidation and plenary, the election period imposed by the Commission on Election (Comelec) will already be in effect. I doubt if it will be pursued.

However, because our Congress is fast in passing bills and the postponement will be finally approved, the sitting barangay officials could not benefit from it. A lawyer friend told me that all positions will be vacant as their terms have already ended. He said that the only remedy is for President Duterte to appoint new barangay officials through the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). This will be a tedious process for there will be community consultations sans the participation of politicians. But when politicians are allowed to participate in the selection process, that’s the time our barangays will be doomed to political indebtedness.

On national security concerns, how many barangays in the country are really prepared for a Marawi-like situation? The “Oplan Tokhang” to curb illegal drugs was not fully supported by barangay officials. The worst thing is there were persons reported as drug users and pushers by barangay officials and these turned out as their political nemesis. Instead of having a real scenario of the illegal drugs situations in their barangays, these are beclouded due to their personal motives. Putting it otherwise, how many barangay officials are into drugs? President Duterte has been telling many times that many barangay officials are into illegal drug operations, but as of now these personalities have not been apprehended. We need strong barangay-based programs in combatting criminalities especially if if is a national concern. On this, we need barangay officials who are keen on community operations and not only waiting for their honoraria.

I have seen barangay officials especially barangay chairmen who are sitting on their jobs. They are fond of going out from their areas of responsibility- traveling abroad or to scenic places in the country leaving their barangays to their barangay secretaries. If election will be pushed through, we need to vote officials who are sincere in serving their communities. Political mediocrity is a big no and has to end.

(For comments and suggestions, email me at emperorvirgil@yahoo.com or virgilmaganes42@gmail.com. Visit my blog “The Roving Pen” at http://www.virgilmaganes.wordpress.com. Read the online edition of Northern Watch at http://www.northwatch.wordpress.com)

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Entry filed under: News.

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