Sunday, October 24, 2010

What does a barangay captain do?

As barangay (village) captain, Constancia “Nene” Lichauco starts her day at 8 A.M. She organizes meetings, checks on barangay employees and tanods (watchmen), and implements projects for the village.

“Kapag nagkakaroon ng ng kaunting emergency that’s when I run and go to the spot kasi hands-on ako, ”she says.

 Lichauco is no stranger to running a barangay. She has village captain in barangay Bel Air, Makati City from 1989 to 2007.

“Napakalawak ng responsibilities ng isang barangay captain,” she adds.

Under the legal system, the three branches of the government -- executive, legislative and judicial -- are being handled by the village chief.

“Barangay captains are more powerful than the president,” Lichauco admits.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez agrees. “If the way you see the barangay as a way of power and privilege, yes you can say that.”

However, the Comelec spokesperson noted that barangay chiefs are public servants.

“Very crucial kasi ang barangay… It is the last link between the government and the community,” Jimenez says.

Lichauco says a barangay captain oversees administrative work in the village. The chief also implements projects, takes care of the village budget and appoints watchmen.

Village chiefs are also tasked to oversee the cleanliness of their neighborhood and run sports programs for the unemployed and out-of-school youths. “Ito ang tunay na gobyerno sa level ng mamamayan,” Jimenez adds.

A barangay chief also wields legislative power. They can pass ordinances. “If we have to vote on it, we vote on it,” she notes.

Mediation, on the other hand, is the judicial power given to the barangay captains.

Instead of taking cases directly to court, barangay captains can serve as mediator between parties involved in disputes, including domestic problems, quarrels between househelp, apartment rents and inheritance.

Lichauco says she often is asked to gives her two cents’ worth to the parties involved in disputes. “Believe it or not, I love doing it because I love people.”

With all these powers, Jimenez stressed that people should take the post of barangay chief seriously. “Unfortunately, di siya pinapahalagahan nang ganoon,” he says.

For people who aspire for the post, Lichauco says they should be ready to provide their time 24 hours a day.

“Sa akin, ang pinaka-importante na quality is your intention to serve and no other agenda,” she says.


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