Vice President Jejomar C. Binay today said barangay officials may now become members of the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund, even as he pressed for their membership in the Government Service Insurance System.
Addressing the annual convention of the Liga ng mga Barangay in Pasay City, the Vice President also proposed the economic clustering of barangays and the establishment of local government unit (LGU) banks and LGU Cooperative Banks to further push the viability of barangays as engines of growth.
Binay said while barangays officials are expected to be at the forefront in responding to calamities and even domestic concerns, they have in the past been deprived benefits as government employees.
“Noong ako ay mayor pa lamang, lagi kong pinapansin na ang ating mga opisyal ng barangay - na inaasahan natin na laging naririyan tuwing may sunog, baha, aksidente o away ng magkakapitbahay - ay ni hindi man lamang miyembro ng GSIS. Kung kayat kapag matapos ang mahabang taon ng serbisyo, ang ating mga opisyal ng barangay ay magreretiro na ni wala man lamang katiting na pensiyon mula sa pamahalaan,” he said.
The Vice President said he will request President Benigno Aquino III and the GSIS to consider immediately extending GSIS membership to barangay officials.
Binay, who is Chair of the Pag-IBIG Fund, announced the signing of a memorandum of agreement between Pag-IBIG and the Liga ng mga Barangay, allowing barangay chairs and their kagawads to become Fund members.
As members of Pag-IBIG, barangay officials would be able to avail themselves of Multi-Purpose loans for educational, health and other needs. They may also secure Calamity Loans, and Housing Loans as well as other benefits that the Fund offers.
"Maaari na kayong makapag-ipon para sa inyong kinabukasan. Sa tulong din ng kasunduang ito, may pagkakataon pa na tapatan ng barangay ang inyong ihuhulog sa Pag-IBIG kaya’t agad na magiging doble ang ipon ninyo," he added.
The Vice President also proposed the clustering of barangays to promote investment, with the view of improving the "viability of the barangays as engines of economic development."
"Under the Local Government Code, the barangays are already empowered to promote this kind of initiative and the USAID has proposed funding for such an initiative," he said.
He likewise proposed adopting the ideas of countries like Germany and Costa Rica in setting up local government banks and LGU cooperative banks.
According to Binay, local government banks "could tap local resources and provide greater focus on local projects." Meanwhile, cooperative banks provide a way to pool the resources of local government units, especially adjacent ones.