By Apolinario Villalobos
The grassroots level of government, in particular, the Barangay, is not free from anomalies and corruption because of “familiarity” among officials and staff due to the smallness of community. Many council members may even be blood-related and the staff , especially, the Secretary appointed by the chairman, in most probability could be related to him or a member of the family. This situation definitely breeds abuse and unprofessionalism.
Memoranda issued on office protocol and decorum become just “fillers” of bulletin boards where they are displayed….and never heeded. The Secretary, for instance, who is supposed to be the first to report to the office should not log in at past 9:00AM and leave before 5AM!….well, as a niece, for instance of the Chairman, she could very well brag, “what are we in power for?”
The Barangay level is where future officials of the country are supposed to learn the rudiments of “public administration”, especially, with the current system that requires regular preparation of reports in “black and white”. But what if the Chairman happened to have just been voted because of his popular image, despite his or her lack of even a high school diploma? That is where the academically- successful members of the Council and the Secretary are supposed to come in to fill the void of the Chairman’s academic inadequacy.
The Barangay Chairman should, therefore, learn how to please the Council members and appoint a Secretary whom he could trust with the preparation of documents required of him or her by the next higher level of the LGU – municipality or city. On the other hand, he or she should also learn how to “dance” with the Council members so that he will not be left out in the open. These unfortunate options breed corruption, incompetence, irresponsibility and abuse that will definitely jeopardize the whole barangay, as cover-up of misdoings would surely occur.
Many barangays are prevailed upon by their mayors who are also prevailed upon by their governors, and that is how wholesale corruption occurs. Unless the Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary is iron-fisted and courageous, corruption in the government will never be solved….as law makers, themselves, on the upper echelon of the political system of the country have their own issues of the same kind.
This is the reason why Duterte keeps on saying that “in his time”, he will do his best to cut corruption…and, after his term, will he still give a damn?….that is a very serious question to tackle, unless Filipinos will cooperate, be vigilant and join hands to support him and choose another leader with the same caliber. Meanwhile, the barangay level should be closely watched…because that is where corruption takes root!