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EDITORIAL: Love your barangay

THE officers and members of the federation of Lupong Tagapamayapa (Katarungang Pambarangay) in Naga City deserve a pat in the back for the successful conduct of the 2-day continuing seminar on Barangay Justice held at one of the more popular hotels in the city last September 22-23, 2018.

The first day was allotted for the old members of the Lupong Tagapamayapa in each of the city’s 27 barangays while the second day was reserved for the new members as a result of the changing of the guards in the barangay administration because of the recent barangay election where new community leaders have to take over while those in the previous administration have to take leave as their terms had expired which requires the election/appointment of new Lupon members.

As a matter of course, the Lupon members, comprised of both the old and the new have federated themselves for a common purpose and call for stronger inter-relations towards a more responsive administration of justice in the barangays and among the residents. Such federation which is now being headed by Ms. Miles Lim –Solis of Barangay Dinaga, who together with her other officers and the full support of both City Mayor John Bongat and City Vice Mayor Nelson Legacion is certainly moving in the right directon with the training seminar as its first official activity in the furtherance of their respective duties and responsibilities.

Each Lupong Tagapamayapa is composed of about 10 to 20 members with the barangay chief executive (Punong Barangay) as its chairman. The Lupon is by far a most significant innovation in local governance since the Cory Administration came to power as it provides a system of amicable settlement of disputes in the barangay level without need of judicial recourse. Petty crimes (such as slander, physical injury, or collection for unpaid debts) are resolved within the barangay through the Lupong Tagapamayapa and thus are acted upon there without having to go through the tedious and expensive proceedings (including the hiring of lawyers) within the regular court. Because of disputes becoming resolvable at the community level, the courts which are often clogged with so many pending cases, are spared from being lodged with more petty disputes, and thus enable them to attend to bigger cases and dispose of them with dispatch because of the lessened number of cases to be resolved on their desks.

To help the Lupon members deliver their tasks more efficiently and competently, Vice Mayor Nelson Legacion had walked the extra mile by publishing a simplified book or primer on Barangay Legislation, making such guidebook handy to all Lupon members.

To make a community a truly ‘maogmang lugar’ (happy place), peace and harmony should reign among the residents, and if there are disputes or misunderstandings, such matters should be resolved without delay and with fair judgement so that lingering antagonisms would be avoided and thus everyone will continue to live in a more harmonious way.

Meanwhile, the barangay, despite its being the smallest political unit, performs the crucial task of implementing national government polices (drugs, care for environment, and health assistance, among others), plans and projects in the community. It also serves as venue for the airing of problems and views within the community. A mayor can only be as good as his relationships with his barangay captains. On the average composed of at least 2,000 inhabitants, the barangay is where gut issues and problems are taking place and where untapped resources are identified. Yet, too often, the barangay and its leaders, including the Lupon, are invisible to many people, including government officials, except during elections, when they become all too important to be ignored.

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