Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Sunday led the distribution of grocery packs to 297 barangay workers in Oas, Albay Province.
“Minsan ang trabaho sa mga barangay…hindi nare-recognize. Ngayong pandemic, kitang-kita po natin na kung wala kayo, napakahirap ng sitwasyon para sa ating mga kababayan,” Cayetano said.
(There is barely any recognition for the hardships of barangay workers. However, when the pandemic hit, it is clear that if they are not around, it would be difficult for us to navigate.)
The former Speaker was joined by his wife Taguig 2nd District Rep. Lani Cayetano and Mayor Domingo R. Escoto, Jr. during the handover of donations on November 7, 2021.
Aside from grocery packs, the beneficiaries also received financial aid. Of the 297 beneficiaries from Barangay Ilaor Sur, 240 are barangay health workers (BHWs), while 57 are barangay nutrition health scholars (BNS).
“This is really to tell you we appreciate you and we honor you,” the former Speaker said, addressing the barangay workers present during the short program.
The Cayetanos have long advocated for the welfare of BHWs, as can be seen from their home district’s track record of treating BHWs as government employees rather than mere volunteers.
On August 31, 2021, the Cayetanos and their allies in the Balik sa Tamang Serbisyo (BTS) sa Kongreso filed House Bill No. 10112 which seeks to require better compensation for all BHWs as job-order, contractual, or regular employees as opposed to their current allowance-basis set-up.
“Marami na pong congressman ang nag-file ng bill na magkasweldo po ang BHW at BNS. Ang problema po, saan kukunin ng pondo” Cayetano said, explaining that his group’s proposed measure rests on the Supreme Court’s 2018 Mandanas-Garcia ruling.
(There have been a lot of efforts to compensate BHWs and BNS. The usual problem faced is where to get funds for it.)
The Supreme Court has clarified that since custom duties and other taxes should be included in the local government unit’s (LGU) just share in its collection of national taxes, the internal revenue allotment (IRA) of LGUs will increase next year by 27.61 percent.
Cayetano said he hopes the proposed measure would encourage if not obligate LGUs to allot funds to support its barangay workers who are also frontliners.