House approved benefits for barangay volunteer workers

World Tour 2011- Barangay Nova Proper Visit with U...The House of Representatives has approved on third reading the bill providing benefits for barangay volunteer workers to strengthen and enhance their skills to become effective guardians of peace, security and safely.

House Bill 5228 provides allowances to barangay volunteers not lower than P1,500 per month and shall be charged to the budget of the Barangay, from 80% of its annual Internal Revenue Allotment and income from other sources, subject to the availability of funds.

The bill authored by Rep. Loreto Leo Ocampos (2nd District, Misamis Occidental) seeks to grant various benefits and incentives to volunteers, which shall include Philhealth coverage, free legal services and trainings and seminars on human rights, disaster response and risk reduction in recognition of their services.

Ocampos said the proposed act shall cover all members of accredited civilian volunteer organizations (CVOs) and all other volunteers who perform regular governance of service functions in the barangay.

"It is the declared policy of the State to enhance and promote the social and economic status of barangay volunteers and protect their rights and promote their welfare," Ocampos stressed.

The measure to be known as the "Barangay Volunteer Workers' Benefit Act," clearly defines the qualifications of a Barangay volunteer and allows the volunteer to continue with community work for as long as these are maintained, and his performance is considered commendable by Barangay officials.

The bill provides for security of term of office of volunteers following a Memorandum of Agreement signed by the volunteer, the civilian volunteer organization of which he is a member and the Barangay Chairperson.

Likewise, it lists the duties and obligations of a Barangay volunteer and exempts the payment for allowances from the 45 to 55% cap on Personal Services.

Under the bill, the rules and regulations to effectively implement the measure shall be promulgated by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Barangay Operations Office (NBOO), National Liga ng mga Barangay and Civilian Volunteer Organizations (CVOs).

Also, the Sangguniang Barangay is mandated to review every incentive or benefit given to volunteers.

The co-authors of the bill are Reps. Benjamin Asilo (1st District, Manila), Edwin Olivarez (1st District, ParaƱaque), Catalina Leonen-Pizarro (Party-list, ABS), Reena Concepcion Obillo (Party-list, Una ang Pamilya), Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City), Christopher Co (Party-list, Ako Bicol) and Salvador Cabaluna III (Party-list, 1-CARE).