THE proposal of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to abolish the barangay kagawads is not acceptable to Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza.
Atienza, a former city mayor, defended the kagawads who according to him also play important roles in peace and order and governance at the barangay level.
“While I agree with Speaker Alvarez’s proposal to abolish the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) in the barangay system, I am totally against abolishing even the position of barangay kagawads and retaining only the Chairmen,” Atienza said.
The Deputy Minority leader noted that the most important functions of the kagawads – who comprise the Barangay Council – is to provide a checks and balances mechanism.
Removing that would leave the Chairmen in total control of barangay affairs and most especially the barangay budget, the solon said.
“Doing this is tantamount to removing Congress and letting the national government have sole discretion on how to utilize the national budget; or removing City Council members and leaving only the Mayor to decide how to dispense of the city budget. We cannot leave that power in the hands of just one person. The Barangay Council is essential to ensure that barangay funds are utilized properly. They have a specific role in our democratic system. You abolish them and you change the whole scheme of things,” he added.
Atienza was speaking from experience, having been a barangay kagawad and Chairman himself.
“I was a barangay kagawad then a barangay chairman for eight years. We went through all the functions of these two positions and they are essentially co-related,” Atienza stressed.