Experts: Barangay polls key to development

Published by rudy Date posted on October 12, 2010

MANILA, Philippines—Putting the right people in the country’s barangay councils would chart how basic community problems—from petty disputes among neighbors to ensuring that a village is crime- and garbage-free—would be solved.

Dr. Perla Legaspi, program chair of the Lyceum Northwestern University graduate school in Dagupan City, said past barangay elections had tested the electorate’s level of political maturity.

“What I see is that we are not politically mature. In many cases, candidates who lose in elections … are those who deserve to hold office. Why? Because he does not have money and therefore, those undeserving are elected,” said Legaspi, former vice chancellor of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

Reddy Balarbar, election supervisor of Pangasinan, said the Oct. 25 elections are relevant because village officials are the frontiners of government service.

“People can easily go to barangay officials for help because they are in the villages,” Balarbar said.

It is important to choose the right people, he said, because a village chair is the community’s chief enforcer of laws.

“Then, he has a judicial function because he heads the lupong tagapamayapa (peace and order council) that settles disputes. If disputes are settled in the barangay, then these would not reach the courts,” he said.

Big spenders

Rhoderick Dawis, local government operations officer in Dagupan City, said a village leader would set the direction of development.

Legaspi said violence had marred barangay elections because candidates spend big to ensure victory. “Why would candidates spend big? That’s because of the power and perk of the position,” she said.

Dawis said hunger for power is the root of violence in village elections. “I think it’s because we’re clannish. So, in a way, certain candidates want to establish supremacy in a community. But then, there are people who would oppose this so conflict arises,” he said.

More bets, more problems

In Pampanga, Emmanuel Ignacio, assistant Comelec director in Central Luzon, said the barangay election has turned intense because there are too many candidates. “More candidates, more problems,” he said.

Ignacio said election-related conflicts in villages also erupt because many candidates are relatives and “some are not that educated.”

As the provinces prepare for the Oct. 25 elections, the government has started laying down security measures.

In Nueva Ecija, government soldiers would augment police in 28 villages on the Comelec’s watch list.

Watch list

Senior Supt. Roberto Aliggayu, provincial police director, said 17 villages fall under Category 1, or areas with history of election-related violence (ERVs) in previous elections. The list also includes 11 villages under Category 2, or areas where communist rebels operate, he said.

In Camarines Sur, police may put 135 villages on its watch list.
SPO4 Romy Fabiano, Camarines Sur police information officer, said communist groups operate in these villages.

He said police are on the lookout for activities such as “forced recruitment,” propaganda and extortion.

In Lanao del Norte, Gov. Mohammad Khalid Dimaporo earlier urged local officials and police to strengthen security measures for the coming elections.

“We must target zero incidence of violence,” Dimaporo said.

In Sarangani, the National Bureau of Investigation said a gun ban violator arrested at a police checkpoint in Kiamba town was a training officer of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Dominic Cerro, NBI special investigator, said Fernando Gulanday, 27, was implicated in the August 2008 raid in Maasim town and in the bombing of a tower line of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) in Baluntay, Alabel, in 2009.

Visayas outages

Gulanday, in an interview, said he was formerly affiliated with the MILF and was a companion of Mohamad Jafar Maguid, leader of a breakaway MILF group being hunted for the Maasim attack.

In Cebu City, election officials expressed alarm over brownouts in Central Visayas, saying these might disrupt the conduct of elections.

Veronico Petalcorin, acting regional Comelec director, said if the Comelec could not get an assurance of a stable power supply on election day, his office would have to buy emergency lamps and flashlights.

Two-hour outages continued to plague Metro Cebu. –Inquirer Bureaus, Philippine Daily Inquirer with reports from Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon; Armand Galang and Tonette Orejas, Inquirer, Central Luzon; Shiena Barrameda, Inquirer Southern Luzon; Jhunnex Napallacan, Inquirer Visayas; and Ryan Rosauro, Aquiles Zonio and Richel Umel, Inquirer Mindanao

Month – Workers’ month

“Hot for workers rights!”

 

Continuing
Solidarity with CTU Myanmar,
trade unions around the world,
for democracy in Myanmar,
with the daily protests of
people in Myanmar against
the military coup and
continuing oppression.

 

Accept National Unity Government
(NUG) of Myanmar.
Reject Military!

#WearMask #WashHands
#Distancing
#TakePicturesVideos

Time to support & empower survivors.
Time to spark a global conversation.
Time for #GenerationEquality to #orangetheworld!
Trade Union Solidarity Campaigns
Get Email from NTUC
Article Categories