By Mielmia Marie T. Baquiran
In his visit last August 16, 2013 to the various municipalities in Cagayan, Vice President of the Philippines, Jejomar C. Binay Sr. underscored the importance of the local government units (LGUs), especially the barangays, in ushering progress in the whole nation.
Speaking to hundreds of barangay folks and local officials in Iguig, Alcala and Gattaran, VP Binay said that LGUs should be empowered to be able to serve the public and to be able to rise above poverty, disasters and other socio-economic challenges.
“The LGUs, especially the barangays are the front liners in public service. You are the first line of assistance. Thus, you need to be empowered to be able to bring in progress in the countryside and in the entire country,” VP Binay said.
VP Binay also shared his thoughts on the need for barangay officials to become permanent employees of the LGUs so as for them to gain security of tenure. “As engineers for growth and development, barangay officials should also be given enough remunerations and benefits. It would be very good for barangay officials to become official employees of the government, so that upon retirement from service, they can also get benefits,” he added.
Meanwhile, as part of his campaign on the welfare of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), VP Binay, who is also the Presidential Adviser on OFW’s affairs and the Head of the Task Force on Illegal Recruitment, urged barangay officials in Cagayan to fight illegal recruitments of local folks to work in countries abroad. “Veer your constituents away from the traps of illegitimate recruitment posed by fraudulent recruiters and agents. Keep them safe from these kinds of exploitation. Report any forms of illegal recruitment so that it will be given attention and proper action,” VP Binay said.
Also, among Binay’s priorities as Chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) is the creation of socialized housing schemes for employees. He urged the LGUs to create feasible housing projects for their employees. He said that with the help of Pag-ibig housing loan schemes, LGUs can offer their employees a housing program that is practical. He lauded the efforts of the Provincial Government of Cagayan in creating a housing program for its employees.
VP Binay’s stopover to Cagayan was part of his visit in the affected areas of Typhoon Labuyo in the region including Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya. He was in the various provinces to give aid and assistance among homeless and displaced victims of the typhoon.