‘Public office is a public trust,’ Bong Go reminds BSKE candidates

In an interview on Friday, 15 September, after attending the launch of the 159th Malasakit Center in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go discussed the forthcoming 2023 Philippine Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, underscoring the crucial role of public trust in those who are elected to office.

“Public office is a public trust. Kung kayo po ay iluklok dyan, wag nyo pong sayangin ang tiwalang ibinigay sa inyo ng taumbayan,” Go said.

He stressed that elected officials at the barangay level are the direct point of contact of the public and should not squander the trust given to them.

“Unahin po natin ang interes ng tao, unahin po natin ang interes ng bayan. Unahin po natin tulungan ang mga kababayan nating mahihirap, ang mga pobre,” added Go.

The 2023 Philippine barangay and SK elections are scheduled to be held on 30 October this year. Among those to be elected in the election are the Punong Barangay, seven members of the Sangguniang Barangay, and the SK chairperson in barangays all throughout the country.

Go has previously filed Senate Bill No. 197 or the Magna Carta for Barangays, recognizing the critical role of barangay officials in delivering services from the government.

“Meron akong nai-refile na SB 197 or the Magna Carta for Barangays,” he said.

The senator said he understands the challenges faced by barangay officials, having worked closely with former president Rodrigo Duterte when he was still a mayor. “Mahalaga at kritikal ang papel ng mga barangay officials natin sa paghahatid ng mga serbisyo mula sa pamahalaan,” he added.

The bill proposes that barangay officials, including the Punong Barangay, members of the Sangguniang Barangay, the Sangguniang Kabataan chairperson, the barangay secretary, and the barangay treasurer, receive similar treatment as regular government employees. This means they would be eligible for salaries, benefits, and allowances, among other perks.

“Dapat awtomatikong ibinibigay na sa kanila ang kanilang parte sa mga pambansang buwis,” Go stated, emphasizing that the barangay should automatically receive their share of national taxes. This includes funds for the maintenance of barangay roads and bridges, as well as an increased share from real property tax and other collections.

Earlier, Go has co-authored and co-sponsored a Senate bill pushing for the postponement of the December 2022 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections. In his co-sponsorship speech, he emphasized that officials at barangay and SK levels need adequate time and continuity to implement and uphold the plans they have devised for their respective jurisdictions.

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