Community-based progress: the barangay rules

Barangay_Hall_Of_San_Miguel,_Lubao,_Pampanga zamboanga dot com

Barangay Hall, San Miguel, Lubao, Pampanga [Photo source:]


By Karl Garcia

“The Philippines is a collection of tribes, of barangays  and municipalities ruled by families. This is where the government meets the people. There may be presidents and there may be oligarchs and there may be stuffed-shirt senators, but at the most basic level, the barangays rule the Philippines, and the families rule the barangays. This article identifies several ways the barangays can lead the nation to be a better place.


In the most recent presidential debates, a part was about the community, mainly about health care. On the macro level, peace and order and education issues were also tackled.

I will focus on the community level in this write-up to discuss Justice, the Environment, Community Policing, Community Doctors and Community Schools. Then I’ll propose some action steps for the national agenda.


I have long proposed that many disputes can be settled in the barangay and not have to reach the court. The Supreme Court’s “Justice on Wheels” program also tries to reduce all the court backlogs, and most cases just settle, if not monetary amicable settlement, just amicably so it would be all over.

We have jail cells full of minors and even without the minors they are still jam packed like sardines. I won’t touch on our maximum security prison full of jail house rockers; maybe later. I suggest more Boys and Girls Towns, and it is about time to charge the parents when they fail in their responsibilities. Children sniffing solvent, children throwing rocks at wind shields, children jumping on roofs of jeepneys.

Something has to be done.

One solution is community service instead of jail time.

I can see that this is already done. These programs can clean up our dirty streets and esteros, and some are dealing with our reforestation requirements. You don’t have to commit a crime to do community service. Some fraternities and sororities are planting trees. Of course our NGOs are doing the same.

Crime in our country is hard to solve, but these measures can contribute much, not only on petty crime, but environmental and community problems as well.


Since I mentioned environment might as well go on with my issues.

Our laws do not allow any incineration.

What does our dear Environmentalist senator propose to do with our garbage dumps? Recycle everything? Man, in our house we have trash that is decades old. That may be a bit exaggerated, but sooner or later when you do a general cleaning, you throw stuff away. What if everyone went zero waste, that would make us hoarders, not recyclers.

Same with the macro situation, you reuse, re-purpose or simply recycle, and, in the end, you throw it out. You’ve got to allow at least for plasma gasification. Recycling and re-purposing is already being done. Kudos to Envirotech and Integrated Recycling Industries Philippines Inc.

Community Policing

Here are excerpts from an Inquirer article:

PH law enforcers look at UK model for Bangsamoro police

Offenders as Customers

But more than the facilities, it was the police mindset here that impressed the group.

The British police consider offenders “customers” to be treated with respect, according to Insp. Paul Roberts, who took the Philippine group on a tour of the detention center.

This philosophy was evident in the physical setup of the station, which had a reception desk you would mistake for that of a corporate office rather than a jail facility. The only thing that gave away the purpose of the place was a circular platform behind the reception desk with security cameras showing each detention suite.

Knowing the community

From police officers teaching subjects like substance abuse in primary schools, installing safety devices on houses and properties, organizing summer camps for restless kids, rehabilitating the community’s “Top 20” troublemakers or tracking lost horses, the North Wales police showed that knowing your community was key to an effective and trusted police force.

The Philippine group, composed of police and military officials, toured the headquarters in Colwyn Bay, Wrexham, Flintshire, Mold and Deeside, and joined foot patrols to see the North Wales police in action. The tour included a visit to the Airbus plant in Broughton to see how a single police officer contributes to peacekeeping in the giant aircraft wing factory.

They also visited a massive central command in Wrexham, where emergency calls are received and where various parts and establishments are monitored by high-definition security cameras. Here, the Philippine group saw how a duty officer can control the CCTV cameras to focus on a street, an establishment or a person of interest. Shops have radios to alert the police about shoplifting, riots or other untoward incidents. From the control room, the police can track down the offenders and make arrests.

Another showcase was Caia Park in the same town, an impoverished community previously torn by racial tensions and crime but has now been transformed into a model community, and where the police perform not only law enforcement but also social work.

The group met with the North Wales police head, Chief Constable Mark Polin, and Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick, the elected overseer of the force.

With a 1,500-strong force and 250 police community support officers (PCSOs), the North Wales police serves an area slightly bigger than Brunei, with a population of around 687,000 (2011 census).

Winston Roddick, the first-ever elected police and crime commissioner for North Wales, has this message to the Philippine police: consulting the people is essential.

“You’ve got to keep in touch with the community. Once you’ve set it up and you’ve built the bridge, you have to cross that bridge regularly in order to maintain the relationship,” Roddick told members of a Philippine technical working group looking for a model for policing in the proposed Bangsamoro autonomous region.

My Comments:

The Police are looking for a model to emulate for the eventual Bangsa Moro Police.

While learning from that model, they learned community policing. I suggest that community policing be installed nationally. Since we are composed of barangays, this model would suit us perfectly.

Community Doctors

An excerpt from article in

Our country is in dire need of doctors for the people. The starkest indicator of this dilemma is the state of community medicine practice in the country and likewise the dwindling number of community physicians.

According to the National Institute of Health, there have been more than 9, 000 physicians who have left the country as nurses between 2002 to 2005. Likewise, the Health Alliance for Democracy said around 80 percent of public health physicians have taken up or are enrolled in nursing. This year, it said, 90 percent of municipal health officers (MHOs) are taking up nursing and are expected to leave the country. The number of obstetricians and anesthesiologists are also fast depleting, followed by pediatricians and surgeons.

In the future, the best practices in community medicine should be documented and a strong system of supportive mechanisms for community medicine practitioners both in the public and private sectors should be developed.

“The health of the poor is a cardinal indicator of the state of people’s health,” Velmonte says. Among the resolutions passed was the formation of a community physicians’ organization to advance the discipline not only in the academe and medical community but also to gain ground in the promotion of health and development for the marginalized sectors of society.”

My Comments:

The priority of medical and nursing school graduates is to go to big hospitals, private practice or overseas. There are only a few or even no medical staff left for the barrios.

There must be ways to have doctors for the barrios, and a doctor who came from that barrio would be preferred.

Community Education.

The Community School and Its Relevance to the Present Times


The community school, pioneered among others by Dr. Jose V. Aguilar, a superintendent of schools in Iloilo and later Dean of the U.P. College of Education, is distinguished by elementary schoolchildren tilling little plots of land in front of their countryside schools. The concept left a deep mark on Philippine education, and should become a historical concern of educators, especially in its use for the present times. For the community school did not only mean getting schoolchildren to learn the farming skills of their parents; it also meant a three-way partnership between teachers, parents, and community in the insurance of a practical education both for the nation’s children, and the nation’s adults as well, using the vernacular as medium of instruction. Can the community school concept be used at present to solve the problems of poverty, unemployment and underemployment, taking into account the possibility that the movement that spawned it was a potentially subversive pursuit?

My Comments:

The rural communities outnumber the urban ones. The above case study is for agricultural communities. But we know from anecdotes that children cross rivers and mountains just to reach the only school nearest to their home. There are few busing programs. Some kids get tired and quit school.

Some are war torn. How can they continue schooling? They are joining the rebels.

Action Steps

We now move on to the national policies, programs and legislation I hope would finally come to fruition. Here’s what I wish would happen terms of policies and legislation. Some I already mentioned and will just summarize.

  • For legislation, of course, some high profile bills like FOI, Anti-Dynasty, SSS pension hike, Magna Carta for the Poor, New Criminal Code, BBL, and decriminalization of libel.
  • I also hope that, within the New Criminal Code, would be included community service in lieu of prison time, as mentioned above.
  • Also in the Magna Carta for the Poor, I hope they remove the portions that are not viable, like the costly housing programs; if it is left in, they need to propose a funding mechanism for it.
    • Also I hope the CCT will be institutionalized in this bill.
  • The BBL will hopefully be passed.
    • With reviewing the BBL, since the presumptive president supports federalism, I am sure federalism will be discussed.
    • That means charter change, but before federalism, an anti dynasty law must be passed so no new local “kingdoms” will be established.
  • Parliamentary form might also be considered, but before we do this, we must have a requirement for professional civil servants so that in a scenario where successive Prime Ministers get votes of no confidence, the government would not shut down.
  • The economic provisions of allowing foreigners to own land must be scrutinized along with the past deals we have had with China to lease vast tracts of land.
    • President Elect Duterte has mentioned leasing of islands to the Chinese. Before any talk of foreigner’s owning or controlling land, a National Land use Act must first be established.


Reference sources are itemized in detail in the following preliminary articles at Irineo Salazar’s blog:

162 Responses to “Community-based progress: the barangay rules”
  1. It takes a Tanod like Karl (walking in boots through mud) to recognize the vital importance of the barangay… the core unit of the archipelago that became the Philippines since time immemorial.

    This has made me think of a possible Department of Local Government to be created for Leni… parts of DILG, DSWD, DOLE, DOE and more – to supervise, assign budget and coach the local and barangay levels – Leni knows the barangays well, having been everywhere in tsinelas.

    This could be the fix necessary as a preparation for more decentralization or even federalism.

    • Two of my articles that were inspired by Karl’s push in his preliminary articles: – how to decentralize some things. – “The Polder Model” as an idea of how one could organize cooperation regionally and nationwide, based on the Dutch “polder model” – especially joint local environmental and waterway responsibilities…

      • karlgarcia says:

        Thanks Irineo,so many bills that shouldn’t be the job of congress like renaming of streets,increasing the bed space of a hospital.etc.

        Your regional cooperation may prove that Federalism may not be necessary.

    • Joe America says:

      The barangay was difficult for me to get used to at first, rather small and personalized, some with venomous elections as one family tries to wrest control of the position from another. But I have come to appreciate how useful it is at solving petty disputes and listening to people who might otherwise not have a voice in city hall. It is a vital part of storm alerts and emergency clean-up afterwards and could do a lot more for medical care with the right practitioner. We already have a noise reduction policy, stray dog policy, metered water, ban on fireworks except the official barangay blast . . . all implemented during the past two years. There are the normal drunken petty disputes, one murder, a robust fiesta cockfight . . . but, all in all, the barangay gives order to what would otherwise be an unruly bunch of citizens. It indeed could be the key to the ‘discipline’ that PE Duterte envisions.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Thanks for your examples of how the barangay sets oder in a chaotic environment.

      • bill in oz says:

        Joe for this ignoramus (!!!) , what ‘scale’ is normal.. How many people and or area or houses constitute your baranguay ?

        • Joe America says:

          Biliran Island has 8 municipalities and a 2010 population of 162,000. The largest municipality (Naval) has around 50,000 residents and 26 barangays. Some of the other municipalities have smaller barangays. Kawayan has a population of 20,000 and 20 barangays.

          Biliran was site of the first large-scale shipyard, built in the 17th century. Galleons were built to support the Galleon trade between Manila and Acapulco in Mexico.[Wiki]

          The local university teaches seamanship, and a lot of seamen live and retire in the community.

        • There are around 42K barangays nationwide, so taking the 92 million Filipinos and dividing it is around 2000+ people per barangay on the average. I wonder how big the biggest and how small the smallest barangays are.

          The Rappler maps of the election results were excellent – what would be a great kind of Freedom of Information for the next years would be similar clickable maps of the 14 (?) regions, 82 (?) provinces, how many (?) LGUs and 42K barangays with the vital statistics:

          – schools
          – hospitals
          – crime (shabu-infested or not)
          – order (rebel-infested or not)
          – income (rich, middle, poor)

          If the focus is to be on progress FELT by the people, this should be the monitoring.

          The data is there, there are enough IT experts in the Philippines, even Business Intelligence People – consolidating and presenting data is their discipline or field.

          Population per unit (region, province, LGU, barangay) and area are also measures that give an idea of the status – over- or underpopulated? The other stuff can be added later.

          • chit navarro says:

            The branagays in Makati City maybe the most populated in a small land area but maybe the richest in terms of infrastructure – thanks to then Mayor Jejomar. He equipped “his” barangays with a decent barangay hall, with aircons, computers, office systems, etc.; health center, transport vehicle, power for the barangay tanods….And to top it all, the barangay chairmen elect among themselves a Chairman who represents them in the municipal council and he has the same power as a municipal councilor. And they now have liveable allowances that barangay elections are now becoming “expensive” to a candidate.

          • sonny says:

            Irineo, Karl, the journey is the solution.

            A long long time ago I surmised, where does the rubber meet the road. For better or worsel, the visionary Marcos, Sr. ‘decreed’ the breakdown of the country into barangays as the social, political, economic administrative units of the country. During his visionary advent, computers were the only viable tool that could match the customized administration needs of each barangay. But then, computing power and expertise was not available as now. As in every IT project, enterprise definition is vital. So maybe, Tanod Karl is lighting the next steps as PiE’s flywheel is already churning and crunching the data toward prototypes, whatever forms are needed. 🙂

            • sonny says:

              Joe, thanks for the Biliran historical note. This matches the fact that the first school established by the American colonial government was a nautical school, the second was a normal school (for teachers). This reflected the foresight and wisdom (however attenuated) of the early American colonial architects, IMO.

              • Joe America says:

                Ah, good to know. Find a strategic strength, and ‘train the trainers.” Many Filipinos work on the seas today, but I think the oligarchs don’t own the shipping companies. The taipans are landlocked. Somewhere twixt then and there the strategy of the capitalists got lost in favor of the tactics of the tribes.

              • sonny says:

                Just a bit more on Filipino mariners:

                “… the total of financial remittances sent to the Philippines by overseas Filipino seamen was US$2.501 billion during the first nine months of 2009 (US$2.393 billion in 2008).”

                “… Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, the secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) described Filipino seamen as sailors who were “unsung heroes” of an “unsung industry”, namely the shipping industry that carried “most of the world trade in goods”. Mitropoulos further stated that the “international community should pay tribute to the Filipino seafarers” and to the Philippines for their contributions to the shipping and international seaborne trade.”


            • Basic government services should be made available at the barangay hall level.

              Technology plus organization indeed makes it possible. The project is working on a government portal – but I would go one step further based on corporate models.

              One portal for most citizen services, and staff in every barangay that have accounts and skills to be the interface for ordinary people. Make availing of most services possible at barangay level via this front-end, including local language support and bilingual forms.

              Stuff like NCSO (birth, marriage, death) is already centrally computerized, maybe some things are better left at city hall for control reasons, but why do people have to endure long waits all the time if technology makes a service centre approach possible already?

              A lot of the anger and unfamiliarity with government has to do with the lack of a service oriented attitude on one side, and lack of skills on the other. Bridging this is the challenge, and successfully creating that bridge engenders the trust which is lacking on both sides.

              • Joe America says:

                Bingo. Lack of service attitude + lack of skills/automation. I would add lack of opportunity to go anywhere, and pay that does not allow one to purchase things that, perverse or not, give one a sense of worth.

      • andy ibay says:

        Yabang ang dating: I was a nobody in our own barangay but I did something for it, I was helped by the seniors as interviewers to conduct a study (2004) probably the first done on seniors in the Philippines. (if anybody is interested or if Joe Am wants to post it here I can search my old file.) It was very revealing and APOLITICAL. I did another thing. I was lecturer on the topic Creative Thinking on a training on MEDIATION of members of our Barangay’s Lupon Tagapamayapa of a seminar I designed for the Mediation Foundation of the Philippines.

        Transparency: After my lecture I got a feedback that a member of the Lupon a former policeman did not like my lecture but held back his anger. My examples on THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX were really extremes LIKE: If you want to really reduce crime in the country jail all policemen and release all prisoners (come to think of it now I should have included all judges and justices) ; if you want to reduce wife abuse, just encourage and support husband abuse; Of course I explained the irrationality of my examples.

        More yabang: I have a certificate of attendance from the Supreme Court on a Seminar on Mediation. Another co- participant was a former Dean of the UP College of Law. We were classmates decades ago on a course on the Improvement of Teaching by the College of Education ; he was already Law Dean at the time. We listened to a lecture of the Dean of Ateneo Law School who was President of the Mediation Foundation.

        The brains mostly very hard working women PhDs three of them now all have passed (I was the barangay idiot who does not believe the publish or perish bs in the academe) of our College which we light heartedly refer to it as Barangay ??? and our Dean our Barangay Captain, who was appointed later as Presidential Adviser on Development Administration. Last time I heard, our very own UP Barangay have a Lady Barangay Captain who used to be a math major research assistant. Regardless of differences in the interpretation of theories we are indomitably interconnected in our barangay. I was for a time sitting on the item of another barangay lady who was on leave as probably the first woman National Treasurer who asked me when FPJ was running and upon hearing my answer she asked me WHY. I said the country needs a xxxxxx for a president. Look, we have Duterte now I should remind her of my prophetic wish When I see her again. And that is just a trickle, NOT the whole story of our Barangay in the academe

        STOP, STOP, stop, JoeAm should yell at me now to stop using precious space for my rumbling blabbering.

    • sonny says:

      Tanod Karl’s article is clarion (loud & clear).

      During Marcos, Sr.’s takeover more than a generation ago he sang a siren’s song to the country to justify his martial law. Many of my generation agreed and gave him carte blanche. Like the sailors of mythology, we were dashed to the rocks of destruction.

      So now, PE Duterte is embarking to sing the same siren song. Hopefully, we get to plug our ears and the PE, like Ulysses, shall tie himself to the mast even as the song is sung as we row ourselves to safety.

      Case in point, the BBL police group that Tanod Karl mentioned will be a good test under PE Duterte’s watch and ‘guidance’ together with the local executives. The ARMM region will be a good opportunity to apply principles and connectivity of services addressing ARMM’s needs. The British North Wales region population of 687,000 under police community care will find resonance in the demography profiles in the Sulu archipelago thusly:

      Basilan pop 391,179 3,224 km2
      Jolo pop 718,290 3,436 km2
      Tawitawi pop 366,550 3,626 km2

      And landlocked provinces of:

      Lanao del Sur pop 933,260 13,494 km2
      Maguindanao pop 944,718 9,729 km2

      Tall order but so worthy of success.

  2. chempo says:

    Karl, it’s a good topic, thanks.

    So many issues, and rather ecletic. I’ll jump in at a topic now and then when I grab some time.

    On Justice:
    1.You asked for cases to be resolved at Barangay levels to spare congestion at the courts. Your are obviously right, it’s a matter of (a) case criteria and (b) mechanism. Certain cases can be resolved at local level — mostly more trivial domestic in nature types, I’m sure you are not suggesting the barangay captain to hold court. I suspect most cases would be arbitration in nature, then an arbitrator would suffice. We don’t need a full-flegded magistrate. I wonder if this is already in practice because I seem to have seen telecast of an open session. An authoritative guy sat to hear from 2 parties, and after hearing complains, arguments from both sides, he chastised one of the parties and he made some final orders. I did’nt understand, it was in dialect.

    2. Are there boys/girls towns here in Phils? Juveniles should not be in same prison as adults. Whole idea for boys/girls towns is not punitive but rehab. Thus programs are some for of schooling, social/civil/moral types of courses, military style drills for discipline etc. More importantly, the sentence will not be reflected in the child’s records after some time.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Thanks Chempo,
      I don’t suggest the barangay to have a court,you are right arbitration,mediation is preferred to settle disputes.

      Senator Cayetano even wants to make the age to be considered an Adult to be 12 years old. I think he thinks more should go to jail.
      That is not the way to do it,if there ar more children going to jail.
      By the way,
      Remember your comment about needing a bill for something to be done at the LTO in Sarangani,I shareyour frustrations,and Irineo’s latest blog is all about that.

      • bill in oz says:

        Hi Karl, “Remember your comment about needing a bill for something to be done at the LTO in Sarangani,I shareyour frustrations,and Irineo’s latest blog is all about that.”
        That is what Federalism is good at… devolving power to make decisions down to level where a) the issue is considered important so it is dealt with and b) the people involved have some knowledge and can make an informed decision.

        • karlgarcia says:

          The proponents are now having disagreements on when to launch it.Would it be ASAP or before mid term elections.(Re:Federalism)

    • andy ibay says:

      Chempo, first thanks for the info. The last time I went home, I dropped in at the City’s Office on MEDIATIONto say hello and find out if Dr Oliver and Judge Lucy still remember me. My God, It was SRO. At first thought these are not Barangay people-looking, well dressed, mostly well-to-do and professional in appearance. They are not really poor people feuding (neighbor or family feuds in the Barangays).

      My wacky thought: This people are not here to settle scores, they are trying to economize from high court fees. The word for peace and justice at the Barangay level is MEDIATION, between labor and management disputes, the word is ARBITRATION, but Chempo and others in the field you are right both words are correct and synonymous in the pursuit of justice. If I may, reading the book of Judge Judy reveals more than her program on TV.

      So on that visit, I jumped the queue and asked the pretty lady behind the desk and asked her retired honor: Judge do you remember me? She looked at me like a judge looking pained at a bumbling prosecutor, “Of course naman, kumusta ka na? Di ka nagbago.”
      MEDIATION at Barangay level even in a financial district can oil the expensive wheels of social justice.

      • chempo says:

        Mediation maybe that’s the common term n arbitration is the more legalistic term?. Anyway we know the purpose.
        Do u mean any 2 parties can go to any barangy for this? No residency requirements? Well if it’s possible n at lower cost, it certainly suits Karl objectives.

        • andy ibay says:

          I dealt with peripheral not substantive matters on MEDIATION, first world countries have that as old hat and have all the info and techniques on mediation. I know many cities now have their MEDIATION CENTERS. Take Metro Manila Cities, mediation is a real need even for business enterprises located in urban barangays. I don’t know particular jurisdiction and defined cases covered by authorized mediators.

        • Bert says:

          chempo, please allow me to contribute a bit on the topic though I hope my limited knowledge in English would be enough to make it understandable.

          Here goes. Something happened in the barangay and the agrieved party went to the police headquarters (instead of to the barangay hall) to lodge a complaint. The police will determine the case if it’s within the jurisdiction of the barangay justice. If it is, the police will send the complainant to go to the Barangay Authorities. At the barangay level, the barangay captain calls both parties for investigation and let them explain the matter. If both parties won’t agree to a settlement of the case right there, it will be referred to a committee of three barangay justices called ‘lupon’ who are both acceptable to the parties in terms of fairness. If both parties can’t agree to settle the case there, they will be given 45 days to think it over for themselves after which the case will be elevated to the fiscal’s office for adjudication with a signed certification by the Barangay Captain that both parties can’t agree on a settlement.

          Same if the case is brought direct to the Barangay instead of to the police.

          • chempo says:

            Thanks Bert. So I see there is some mechanism in place. I guess these are all disputes civil in nature.

          • Bert says:

            If the severity of the case is such that violence and injury is involved, the Barangay Authorities will not adjudicate but instead will elevate the case to the police.

            • chempo says:

              Rightly so. I remember a friend who was going to evict a tenant and he was advised to go see barangay office first before immediately going legal. I didn’t follow up on what happened. I think the idea is like village elder trying to resolve matters locally. Which is good.

          • sonny says:

            Purely, anecdotal in my experience: one in Baguio, one in Quezon City, one in La Union coastal hometown.

            There is some commonality and difference in the scale of each barangay. Commonality, the experience of ‘officialness’ and the public airing of grievance and first contact with objective definition of one’s case. In my hometown barangay, being an interested party, I could see the importance of careful due diligence disabused from the emotional load of one’s case. The barangay in Quezon City was bad, acute nepotism because of salaried position. The one in Baguio had a quasi-legal tendency, one could bring a lawyer as first point of contact. So obviously, there is quite a big variety of possible configurations as to the implementation of the barangay idea – an education in itself.

  3. josephivo says:

    Leni for president… or am I too late?

    Preventing crime the Jesse Robredo way or killing criminals the Duterte way? In preventing the barangays are essential.

  4. NHerrera says:

    Off topic


    Date Time Marcos Robredo Difference

    5/25 2015 02.823 02.627 0.196
    5/25 2045 03.052 03.237 -0.185
    5/25 2115 03.244 03.433 -0.189
    5/25 2130 03.281 03.577 -0.295
    5/26 2000 11.011 08.601 2.410
    5/26 2030 11.877 09.717 2.160
    5/26 2100 12.443 11.305 1.137
    5/26 2130 13.078 12.891 0.186
    5/26 2155 13.126 13.043 0.083

    – zero placed in front of numbers made to line up columns as it would appear in the post
    – votes in millions
    – with only some 40 COC’s uncanvassed out of 165 and a few set aside for the Provincial Board of Canvassers to explain discrepancies
    – note too that most of the uncanvassed COC’s have small votes compared to those canvassed today (5/26) the second day of canvassing.

  5. NHerrera says:


    Why does Sen Miriam Santiago not concede. That is the question.

    My conjecture: methinks the good Senator is giving the country at least one last gift before she rests — and perhaps retire for her health and family — after the election campaign which must have been extremely grueling for her. A swan song of sorts.

    By not conceding she, in effect, forced the Congress to see through the speedy canvassing of both the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election Returns in the on-going Congressional Canvass. Thus, not causing the VP canvass to effectively go on a slow boat to China if it is separated by an early resolution of the Presidential Proclamation with her concession. Otherwise the situation becomes perfect for the additional gimmickry of Marcos. I also believe — another conjecture — that her credible spies must have reported the behaviors of PE Duterte and Marcos relative to their campaign as they impact on her own. And to a proud and intelligent Miriam, this may have left a bad taste in her mouth.

    Thus, killing two birds with one stone so to speak — by not conceding.

  6. David says:

    Why my Barangay sucks?

    Well. for starters drive the main route and take a close look how the business ventures accommodate their locals business in top of residential side walks, even blocking the street right a way. The word Building code and zoning is non existence.

    Take a detailed look at the local barangay office bldg. and you will see holes and rust in their own roof. Surely the slum attitude is predominant.

    Yet, during night time, it all night wolves and vampires come out to dwell and prey. Police presence is an act of God and Barangay Police volunteers look more like Mafioso’s in a prowling mode.

    I got little respect for their own state of sorriness.

    • Joe America says:

      What do you propose be done about it, and how might you help in that regard?

      • David says:

        @ Joe America and Mary Grace P. Gonzales

        Well your questions are valid here are some of my views from my own experiences.

        Typhoon and population relocation.

        Looking at the population dislocation to may area, A lot of people were dislocated from Manila during Typhoon Ondoy, and many other afflicted areas.

        They were relocated from different barrios in Manila. Locally Private lands were bought by the government and a quick and ugly setup of housing bldg was build to accommodate those families.

        Yet, a lot of families accepted those new conditions, due to their predicament and financial constrains. That was not a problem, the Government was doing their best to help the people of the Republic with relief and food. The floods were rampant.

        The problem was some families and individuals brought and refuse to change their BAD habits, All types of heinous Crimes and rampant usage of drugs did happen and escalated to a war zone.

        Yet, I remember watching continuously the police blue lights at a distance during night, We knew something or someone got hurt.

        What we did as a community?

        We did collected our donations, no money involved from our village, such as canned foods, Rice, clothing, shoes, sandals and brought them to our local schools. We did not trusted others, we wanted to see for ourselves the goods were giving equally and properly.

        We did approach the Barangay local officials in how we could help them?, they try, but themselves were victimize, they were scare, intimidated and lost their confidence. We had to provide our own physical security,

        We had no choice, but to protect our own supplies volunteers, Doctors and nurses, while they help out others.

        Our Doctors and Nurses were the driving force and leadership withing our own village, That was good, We show force in numbers with discipline, respect and character, We took action in helping the real needy families. Including those criminal evil punks.

        Yet, the Red Cross, Iglesia de Cristo and the local Catholic churches were the first ones to show up 3days later and we were in full swing, united as one helping others. No bitching or complains, it was about the families.

        We had a pretty good size of volunteer as drivers, we took shifts doing our routines. Including supply pickup, kitchen cooking deliveries, garbage collecting and burning. Later, 3 weeks our board council were notified that we were not need it anymore.

        The government came in full force. But late,3 weeks later. Some kind of order was restore. A lot of work has to be done for our adjacent communities.

        Later, we were invited by the local community for the first time, I was able to talk to my neighbors in peace with no worries, We became close friend,

        As a foreigner, it made me very humbled,I understood their pain and needs, did learn a lot from them.

        For me, that was a rewarding experience.

        During Typhoon Glenda, same scenario happen again, but chaos was not ruling, Organized intervention at all local and government levels was effective.

        Still our own barangay hall still looks like a war zone and that really does pisses me off!
        I cant figure that one out!

        Yet with the Laguna water project on full motion, has brought some hope and civility to others,

        Then, The Meralco projects, installed permanent power poles,, street lights are WORKING! and the new local telecom expansion project, know we are able to enjoy ADSL bundle service after 4 years.of waiting. Some progress has been done, More needs to be done.It is worth helping and defending!

        • Joe America says:

          Wonderful contribution. I can imagine that it was rewarding. I personally have nothing but praise for National Government’s work after Yolanda, which was very damaging here, and Ruby, a little later. The electrical grid work was nothing short of fantastic. The follow-up orderly and prioritized and quick for the things that mattered. The highest priority was putting local governments back on their feet, and new city/municipal halls sprouted across the region. That was Sec. Roxas’ only responsibility and it got done fast and in good order. People without houses wanted them TODAY, and it just does not happen that way. The situation was made worse by a complaining local government in Tacloban that, rather than taking care of those people, stoked their angers with a bunch of political claptrap.

          The important point to grasp is that the laws of the Philippines make local governments responsible for storm preparation and relief. If an area is declared a calamity area, the provincial and national governments can engage, and three weeks to get organized is not outside of reason, I think. For sure, after Yolanda, the national government has done a lot of work to get staged ahead of storms with troops and emergency food and water, so immediate emergency response is better now. But it still would take time to get an enduring clean-up, sheltering and recovery effort going.

          The barangay is extraordinarily valuable, or potentially valuable, in case of natural disasters. They have to be competent though.

        • LG says:

          Nice work. God bless you. Indeed, some Philippine geographical locations, nature or man-made require periodic help from strong typhoons. Some are lucky, like ours, where come the likes of Ondoy, Peping or Yolanda, except for the farmers for losing their crop, the most we can complain about, is that we are home-bound!

        • karlgarcia says:

          👍🏻Very nice.There will be more typhoons to come,and with hopefully with lessons already learned,we will be more prepared.

    • @ David

      Our barangay sucks, too in some areas that you mentioned like blocking street right of way. Scores of private vehicles, who have no garages of their own, occupy the side streets and sidewalks such that pedestrians have to play patintero with moving vehicles. It is such a trial negotiating our streets – for pedestrians and motorists alike.

      The garbage collection for our subdivision is quite good, the trucks arrive at regular days and times and we have made it a practice to bring out our trash only when they are already there so the stray dogs and and human trash scavengers won’t spread it all around the pavements. The same cannot be said on the streets outside our subdivision with flies, rats, and human and other animal scavengers competing for space around the mountain of trash..ugh!

      Our barangay has been a beneficiary of an able water pump that quickly addresses our flood problem in the past 2 years or so such that the usual 1 to 2 months of makeshift boats during waist deep flood have been reduced to just 2 weeks or less.

      We hired a new kasambahay (housemaid) a year ago. She made a cash advance of 1,000 peso so she can send it to her starving family, or so she said. She arranged her clothes, shoes and other personal belonging to her assigned room and listened attentively to how things are being managed at home, and started her job. Two hours later, she asked permission to buy some cp load so she can call her family from my niece’s sari-sari store, one house away from us. She never came back, so after failing to see trace her movements in our subdivision gate CCTV, we went to our barangay to report her as missing in case something happened to her. I was impressed by how the barangay staff dealt with the matter – after having the incident blotted on their records, they gave us their emergency number with instructions to call them once the girl showed up – to not let her enter our home again but to delay her until they can come to pick her up for questioning to prevent other prospective employers from experiencing what we did. She never came back to pick up her things.

      • Joe America says:

        Two issues in your comment: barangays can be useful or not. They are managed by amateurs, in the main. A lot of the services and disciplines they embrace are those set by the mayor.

        The dedication to work, or lack thereof, of the subsistence class is worth an entire blog, and I think I’ll write about it. We’ve had similar incidents to the one that you cite, so many that my wife just gave up and decided to be an American style home-maker, doing all the cooking and lording it over her relatives who help with the cleaning (hahaha). I know you are generous with your pay and benefits, more so than most. But those things don’t matter to a subsistence worker. Today matters. Not tomorrow.

        • LG says:

          Yea,reliable and trustworthy DHs, here, are a dying entity. Our DHs when I was young were loyal and standouts in skills. Now, they are the opposite. Like your Lady, Joe, I had resumed my independent American lifestyle. House – and yard workers are on call. Dailies are on me, including lawn watering and caregiving to 5 pet dogs (used to be 6 but one had gone to heaven😊). Thank God, La Niña is here, saves me a daily 4 AM alarm to water.

      • LG says:

        Barangays serve as excellent mediators in domestic help issues, as is the PNP. Like Mary Grace, I have experienced, 3 separate incidents involving a domestic help (DH) leaving with sizeable utang without due paalam. In 2 of such cases, a barangay was involved; the barangay representatives acted promotly and were professional in hearing both sides. The loans were settled, expectedly, in my favor. I had no barangay recourse with the third case because she came from a Manila-based agency. I reported her, however, as a missing person to the PNP. In two other DH cases, I reported directly to my town PNP because each of the DHs has relatives who are officials at the barangay of concern. In each case, the police investigator (different each time) did a great job acting on the complaint and promptly resolving the loan issue in my favor. Admirably, the PNP investigation process, I saw, is respectable and considerate of the defendant, at the same time, empathetic of the plaintiff. But they have a direct way of making the defendant feel remorseful and make up for a wrong deed.

        • karlgarcia says:

          I do bot know if it s a modus,but many don’t come back after attending a funeral.
          We too experienced runaway from utang incidents.

          Irineo always reminds us that we are lucky here,because when we are abroad,we learn to live without help pronto.

          • LG says:

            Must be a help problem epidemic! Lol. Actually, the now you see them, now you don’t phenomenon incredibly vary. In my experience, at least. Funeral is only one of them. I think expats adjust quick and reasonably well to living in the Philippines without domestic help.

            • LG says:

              I mean the reasons for ‘now you see them, now you don’t…’

            • karlgarcia says:

              funerals,sick relatives,name it.
              expats can adjust well,I agree,but some of them are not here for “helpless” households.

              • LG says:

                You’re right Karl. Some come for a much needed vacation, get their 6 month Phil stay out of the 6-6, or retire here for good to live life like a royal, to bawi, if not to live life as it should be.

          • pelang says:

            I had also an experience with a kasambahay. my brother in the province sent a kasambahay to our sister in manila who ordered for a helper who would help her with the household after learning that my family with my 2 grown-up children and their partners are coming for a holiday and she is having panic attacks already with the thought. My brother gave the DH fare, directions with house telephone and cell phone and advance pay for a month even took her to get to the bus. she left for manila but didn’t get to my sister’s residence. she went somewhere else, maybe even shopping with her advance salary. told my sister not to worry as husband and myself and the kids are used to german kind of life, no helper, but get things in order, if husband gets in the way, he, the children and the visitors help! otherwise, no holiday. that’s how we get things done. But the sister is still trembling in panic. not yet convinced. haaaiiizz!

            • karlgarcia says:

              pelang is haaaaiz German for Hay Naku? 😉 joke.

              • pelang says:

                could be. but it could also be japanese doing karate or practicing his samurai and shouting Haiii! by the way, Hai in german means shark. but i learned that from reading comments at fb and wondered why. so i said, why not? he-he!

              • sonny says:

                Mary Jane has the copyright for that, nephew. 🙂

              • sonny says:

                Sorry, it’s Mary Grace’s. Haaaist. See, I can’t do it right. Help, Mary Grace!

              • karlgarcia says:

                Pelang: So It is a karate kiyai(sp) Haii. Haha . so it is shark in german.Now I know.

                Ok Uncle Sonny,Mary has copyrighted it.

            • LG says:

              Lessons learned over the years, personal and vicarious, regarding DHs: 1. avoid sending fare money or travel ticket, plus or sans cash advance, even when recommended to you by trusted somebody; 2. Cash advance, to already an existing DH, should not be over a month salary: 3. Be cautious about hiring DH from the same town; 4. Never trust house keys with them, especially gate keys; 5. Generosity and fexibility in the boss makes no difference to their longevity, etc.

              Profiling a reliable, tend to stay longer DH has been my ‘retirement research project’ (so far, none of my varying ‘hypotheses’ regarding such has been supported…😄😅

              • Joe America says:

                Indeed, not only do typical incentives often not work, they can work backward. In other words, giving a bonus may tag you as foolish and ripe to be taken advantage of. The worst case of that here was that we gave tin for the roof of the local church, which meant we had money, which meant the local contractor was well advised to overestimate the amount of tin needed by 20%.

              • LG says:

                Not at all surprising, Joe.

    • Andres III says:

      The situations sited is the same in our barangay. The issue is broad, rural barangays are different from urban barangays, they have different problems and need different solutions. The key is with the City/Municipality Mayors and Officials. Barangays could not generate enough revenues exclusive for itself. It is best that every City/Municipality should have a very good masterplan to address problems such as zoning, building constructions, etc. Barangay police should be empowered. Issuance of Mayor’s Permits for businesses and even permits to PUV/PUJ should be meticulously regulated and see to it that it is within the masterplan. And the must important, budget. National budgeting should be done bottom-top, and the masterplan should be considered in doing the budget. Without the masterplan to begin with, any developments is destined to fail.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Agreed, but the MMDA,DOTC,DPWH,etc. have lots of master plans,I guess,it is back to resolve.

        • Andres III says:

          “lots of master plans” maybe a problem, there should only be one. Honestly, i have no idea if MMDA, DOTC, have any masterplans, if they have it is comprehensive? it is well-coordinated? it was applied? Best masterplan for a city i have seen belongs to a private real-estate/construction company. Airports, ports, malls, residences, railways, etc. all are there but it needs to be coordinated with the neighboring cities/municipalities. Thats why it is best that in making the city/municipality masterplan, it should be well-coordinated in the provincial level the least.

          • Joe America says:

            One of the hidden efforts of the Aquino Administration is the revitalization of the National Competitiveness Council that was started under President Arroyo, but never really backed. One thrust is to get rid of laws and red tape processes that restrict business competitiveness. Another is to promote effective local government management and results by focusing on what makes a city or municipality work well. This was an initiative of Jesse Robredo that was carried forward by Secretary Roxas. Communities compete and earn additional funds for doing well. The three main components of the evaluation are: (1) economic dynamism, (2) government efficiency, and (3) infrastructure.

            If cities and municipalities (and their barangays) are not well-planned, disciplined and professional . . . that is a reflection mainly of the mayor, I think. The whole idea that Yolanda’s destruction in Tacloban was the fault of Roxas is one of the more incredible myths ever fostered on a gullible public. Very squarely, that was the Mayor’s doing. By law and by deed . . . or lack thereof.

            An anti-dynasty law is desperately needed to weed out the power-mongers who occupy their positions because they are favored and powerful and kiss political ass . . . and do nothing to organize a wholesome, productive, clean, honest city or municipality.


            • Andres III says:

              Why it is “hidden”? If empowering communities is in Roxas agenda he should have give emphasis on these last election time (not with the frequent statement of “continuing daang-matuwid”) But election is over, we believe, and election campaign is dirty. President Duterte may continue that policy, as it seems a “in preparation” for his proposed federalism thingy. I agree, its the Mayor (and the counselors too) that got the power, actually, the Local Government Code gives them enough disciplinary power within the City/Municipality.

    • Bert says:

      My barangay also sucks but it’s my choice to live here so no whining for me. My friend’s barangay does not suck but I can’t afford living there so my barangay is the best barangay in my opinion so better just grin and bear it, :).

  7. NHerrera says:

    An alternative approach to the fuss about “federalism” by the incoming Administration and its believers.

    National Government

    — a circle within a circle within a circle …

    Before I go further, thanks, karl for the good read.

    If the barangays can be made to work well as part of the system — it is not easy and I do not have comprehensive well-thought out ideas — it may offer a more cost-effective and less painful approach to part of the change needed. And to think, barangays are right there with the “pipol” and figure a lot in election or choice of government officials — the very foundation of democracy. We should improve the mechanisms of Comelec along with it.

    Can Leni Robredo help given the chance? It is a monster task and may exhaust the well-meaning newcomer.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Thanks Manong NH. Josephivo posted a link on Leni’s push for barangay reform.

      I hope the canvass moves faster,because BBM is stil leading.

      • LG says:

        Naku naman😞.

      • NHerrera says:

        Thanks for the link; thanks too to Josephivo. On the Congressional canvass for VP — as of 4:00 pm today Robredo ahead of BBM by 234,898.

        • karlgarcia says:

          yehey.OFW na lang ata eh,tapos ito tonight,I think.

          • karlgarcia says:

            or just a few hundred thousand left for tomorrow.

            • NHerrera says:

              It is almost anticlimactic. Practically all big-ticket items are in except for those whose Provincial Board of Canvassers are asked to appear to explain some discrepancies like Samar, I believe. The rest are mapping up operations of small-ticket items from overseas. I believe the game is over.

            • NHerrera says:


              On the live streaming of the congressional canvassing, I can see old man Enrile busy with his digital tablet with Sotto at his side. Enrile busy with his favorite digital game? Candy crush? 🙂

              • karlgarcia says:

                maybe before it was bejewelled. 😜

              • NHerrera says:

                Yes, that is the one. Tried to recall but failed. I gotta have my grandchildren teach me those games. I bet my grandchildren can beat the old man. (I meant Enrile. 🙂 )

              • karlgarcia says:

                Yes,you are not that old,and why would they beat you😉

  8. uht says:

    In theory, barangays are a good model for leading the nation to progress; however, it should be noted that this tends to be a double edged sword in practice. Many of the more corrupt practices in national government can start out at the barangay level, doubly so when it comes to the SK (I don’t know if it’s still around)—I remember a Facebook friend who quipped that he should try running for the SK because he would then be paid 17,000 pesos to do nothing (his words).

    I have also heard stories of political dynasties grooming their offspring in government by first making them run in the SK. So there should be a framework in place to prevent these sorts of abuses before we can start using the barangay model in a way that benefits everyone (kudos to Karl for mentioning the Anti-Dynasty Bill, that will help a lot).

    Things should also be more transparent at the barangay level—my late grandmother had issues with payments to our barangay senior citizens’ association, and our barangay chairmen have had a disturbing tendency to favor relatives in barangay matters. These things need to be ironed out first before the barangay can start fulfilling its purpose.

  9. NHerrera says:

    On Joe’s note from the editor,

    Varied “characters” in the Philippines*
    Hope is on the ropes
    Philippine “rope a hope”

    (*Short description/paraphrase)


  10. NHerrera says:


    Report will subsequently be prepared for presentation to the Congress for their decision/ proclamation. VPE Robredo got about 230,000 votes over Marcos.

  11. chempo says:

    If I were a barangay captain I would spearhead regular programs of communal work. In Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore we call this gotong royong or kampong spirit. Kampong is village. These projects are voluntary basis and for benefit of the barangay. It can be area cleaning, sprucing up the streets, educational, tree planting, etc. What is achieved from these – direct benefits of the project, community interaction, cement barangay officials – constituents relationship, community ownership of responsibilities, build civic consciousness, great way to teach the young, etc.

    Get these organised properly, like setting up committees, sub committees per project, self fund raising, etc. A good barangay captain can inject great pride to the community through these efforts.

    • LG says:

      I’d volunteer if such programs are set up. At least in one committee of most interest.

      • andy ibay says:

        Well, it is about to happen, about time that the benign VIRUS of volunteerism afflict the Philippines and its people. It is the antidote to the many ills sickening even strong countries in the free world. Canada is ahead of USA in volunteerism. France has it own sans frontiers volunteers. UN ranks number one in supporting volunteerism. Our volunteerism of old called bayanihan is tainted of transferring houses to encourage SQUATTING.

        Just imagine country neighbors exchanging volunteers and each country having a budget to take care of neighbor volunteers. Make it an ASEAN thing to backstop industries Overseas Workers (our OFWs). Countries should help each other TAKE CARE of the poor. Somebody should develop and write this new concept for foreign service experts who are blind to the maladies of poverty.

        • The kampong is the basic Malay unit of community – the Filipino barangay was and is it’s equivalent, as Filipino basic culture is Malay.

          Subdivisions and malls are indications of the failure of Filipino barangays and municipalities to organize public space properly – privatization a band-aid…

          The more privileged reaching out to the less privileged (subdivisions are often part of barangays but the poorer part of the barangay is usually kaput) is the key – but it takes two to tango and it may be hard for the middle class to reach out to the poor, especially if they are suspicious of the “rich” – I wonder what Mary’s experiences are in her barangay, has helping the poorer parts get stuff together already been tried, has it helped already?

    • josephivo says:

      Create traditions. Traditions are one of the contributors to the happiness of the Danes, the most happy nation in the world. They have a lot of traditions also on community level and not only fiestas, also children parties, cleaning the parks, supporting less fortunate community members, processions… all on fixed dates with fixed (commercial) sponsors, fixed routines.

      • LG says:

        In my rural hometown, there are all kinds of community celebrations and gatherings that promote fellowship, from the religious to purely social or civic. If I went to all of them, I won’t need to cook to eat. Food is at the center of all these.

        • The fiestas and celebrations in Albay are an integral part of the community spirit that Governor Salceda promotes… his Facebook feed is full of them.

          Common traditions bind people emotionally into greater communities.

      • chempo says:

        Yea Jose I agree traditions are important. Make some of these gotong royong projects into traditions, that would be great.

  12. Sup says:

    The next time SWS will do their ”poor” investigation in the barangay’s they should add a question…”What did you do the last 6 years to improve your life”

  13. LG says:

    Sup, should be ‘ ! ‘, not ‘ ? ‘ at the end. 😊

  14. Bert says:

    “…and our barangay chairmen have had a disturbing tendency to favor relatives in barangay matters.”—uht

    Of course it’s disturbing, hehehe. As in the local positions, or national, in the police, in the executive, legislative, and the judicial departments…it’s all the same It’s a universal culture, man. BLOOD IS THICKER THAN WATER, :).

    • The more traditional and rural the culture, the more it is like that…

      There is even a marked difference in Germany – the more Catholic and/or rural the more you have traditional cliques, the more Protestant and/or industrial the less you have them.

      Not to mention the differences within Europe – the more Nordic cultures place more emphasis on self-reliance and independence, the more Latin cultures are more on family and interdependence. Greece: three families alternately supplied most postwar leadership.

  15. NHerrera says:

    Off topic


    In the final congressional canvass, the votes in millions

    – For the Presidential Candidates are

    Duterte 16.602, Roxas 9.978, Poe 9.101, Binay 5.416, Santiago 1.456, Seneres 0.026 for a Total of 42.579

    – For the Vice Presidential Candidates are

    Robredo 14.419, Marcos 14.155, Cayetano 5.903, Escudero 4.932, Trillanes 0.869, Honasan 0.789 for a Total of 41.067

    According to Garcia, Marcos Lawyer, the “Undervoting” for the VP Candidates was 3.900 millions.

    Comelec estimates that the turnout in this year’s national election relative to the registered voters of 55.7 millions (local and international) is 81% or 45.117.


    1. It is apparent that Garcia’s “undervoting” estimate of 3.900m is the difference between the voter turnout number and the VP votes total, that is 45.117-41.067 = 4.050m.

    2. While we are at this, using the same logic, there was also undervoting for the Pres candidates of 2.538m (= 45.117 – 42.579).

    3. Now the so-called undervoting can be explained by a lot of factors. The difference in turnouts versus actual valid votes are due for example to the invalid votes because of the filling up of the forms; the decision of the voter to vote for the more important Pres post and leave the VP post blank; among others.

    4. Besides, to me the more realistic measure of the level of “undervoting” for the VP candidates is the difference between the Pres votes total and the VP votes total. That is 1.512m (= 42.579 – 41.067). On this basis, the “undervoting” is only 3.4% relative to the turnout number (= 1.512/45.117 convered to percentage) — very much explanable by Item 3 above.

    But of course, I am not Marcos and his lawyers who must be very good at numerology and very fertile imagination.

    • Joe America says:

      Not to mention really really really desperate.

    • josephivo says:

      Is undervoting just that or is it the sum of not voting and wrong voting as voting for 2 VP candidates, unclear shading etc?

      When undervoting is generated artificially at the canvassing level there should be traces left on the randomness in the figures on a digits level, cheating is not that easy. What probability is required to be trustworthy, 51% or 99.9%?

    • uht says:

      There are a lot of games young people (like me) nowadays play where there are chances to get units after completing missions. The rate of getting a good unit usually hangs at one percent, lower than that 3.4%. But players hold on to that one percent in the hope that it will produce something.

      I think something very similar is happening with Marcos and his lawyers right now…..

    • caliphman says:

      Now if they could claim overvotes for Robredo, then they have a chance.

      • NHerrera says:

        Here is an idea: an enterprising computer programmer can create the UNDERVOTING-OVERVOTING GAME and make money. It rhymes with “heads I win; tails you lose.”


    • LG says:

      Thanks for the analysis, NH. Have you considered sending an opinion as guest writer to PDI? Or to the Guardian, maybe? You should.

      • NHerrera says:

        LG: it is really a minor matter. But thanks for the nice thought.

        • LG says:

          Maybe for the general readership of the Society, it may be a small matter, but to some like me who can use education on such matters, it is not. (When the Marcos camp declared over 3M under votes, I did wonder how they arrived at the figure. So far, I am not sure that under voting is an issue in US national elections, where I had voted more times for presidents than I have done so here). I suggested PDI for wider reach. The opinion article could be on the phenomenon of under voting, the math on the VP votes, the Marcos complaint, and your views regarding the issue.

  16. Ben Zayb says:

    The measure of how democratic a democracy is—is how democratic local government is. The local government is more than just the government closest to the people; it’s the practical school of government—making men and women citizens, teaching them the basic skills, values and routines demanded of a citizen in a democracy.

    I think one low-hanging but high value fruit that can be utilized to democratize local government is e-governance. The problem in the Philippines—and in many new democracies forged during and after the industrial revolution—is that the old “public squares” that helped grant citizens in the West the power to hold their rulers accountable (Gutenberg, mass media in general) have been co-opted. The newspaper, radio and television may have caught the noble off guard—but not the principalia who—unwittingly guranteed free rein to adapt to the FORM of democracy in the Commonwealth—has grown with them. Yet, with the rapid increase of Filipino internet users (since 2009, exponential), the widespread adaption of smartphones and the advent of social media—there is now a possibility of a new “public square” to which the dynastic elite are not inoculated.

    Duterte—and unfortunately, Marcos—are proof of the power of this new “public square”.

    In concrete terms—REQUIRE every LGU have a website and a page on Facebook and GURANTEE that these adhere to set standards of TRANSPARENCY (has all information needed), RESPONSIVENESS (all queries are given prompt standards replies, data is regularly updated) and EASE of USE (data is easily located, usage of VERNACULAR). With such measures—perhaps obscure Citizen Charters and bidding documents may reach the attention of the public.

    With DICT already in law, perhaps…

    • DICT and the work of DOST-ASTI (which will be part of DICT, the details of what will be part of it are very important) to create a government portal are a significant part, LGPMS also.

      There is already an anti-dynasty law in place for Sangguniang Kabataan, I have seen…

      At local level, some degree of Swiss-style “town square” direct democracy might help – start with the barangay if possible. Make it possible to impeach local officials by plebiscite??? Impunity and abuse also start a barangay captain and mayor level, put checks there???

      From over here: the Bavarian Interior Ministry has a Complaints Office where local people can file complaints against their respective mayors – I know a lady who works there….

      Most good things and most issues are local, fix that first before the big stuff like federalism.

  17. karlgarcia says:

    Just coming back from visiting Mulanay Quezon,the hometown of my dad.It is just a small town,but A lot has changed since my last visit almost 8 years ago,the roads going to it are smoother,more stores,more business establishment,
    The problem is the traffic from the Santa Cruzan in each barangay using the highway,now the seven hour trip to Manila will be nine hours or more.
    Counter flow,the more the merrier.

    Duterte must ban Santa Cruzan.(half-joke)

    • LG says:

      Santa Cruzans are awaited with excitement where it’s still done in towns like yours, time to parade in main roads, the town’s young beauties and dudes. In mine, a first class municipality, such annual has been replaced by my parish’s proclamation of the Ulirang Ina (inspired by the Caring Mama Mary) from a bunch of nominees (no parade involved) on the last Saturday of May. Traditions like such promote community across all classes. Too bad, Santa Cruzans come with a knot .

      It’s the funeral causing traffic that frustrate me as they go on the main road, no less; 3 in a week usually on a Tuesday, Friday n Saturday between 8 n 10AM. I calm myself down by thinking it’s the ‘yumao’s’ last trip already and what if it’s me being the one on the carriage. Siempre, no scheduled trips for me at such times, if I can help it. Have funerals within BLUE lanes only? 😇

      • karlgarcia says:

        A paradigm shift must happen, if pageantry and not solemnity is what they are after then they just wakk through eskinitas or side roads,with one doing video and live streaming.
        Then a giant screen for the audience in just one place of their choice.
        Not outside their homes and cause more traffic.

        The funerals are already undergoing a paradigm shift,because people cremate their departed loved ones.

        For fiestas,no main road blocking just eat in the side roads,those with houses on the main road must invite people to eat inside their homes.

        • LG says:

          I agree. Shift in paradigm from ‘shallow’ to ‘deep’; from ‘form n style’ to ‘substance’; from ‘loud’ to ‘modulate’. Sadly, for now, only the minority might be the only one going for such. There is supposedly a Catholic Church’s guide on Cremation. Expedience is not IT, yet. I might have googled Catholic Church view on cremation.

  18. A very good read, karl. Thanks.

    Is it just me, or is this photo of a barangay hall really fancy, the ones I visited down south were additions to bigger neighborhood chapels… and was more or less a place to hang-out and play pool. 😉

    (p.s.~ Is your avatar photo a picture of some Filipino movie star? or a male model?)

    re Community Policing, I would argue that maybe there’s a little bit too much affinity at the barangay level, ie. for community policing to work there has to be a balance of the subjective and objective approaches, too much affinity tends to hamper the whole process.

    So I would only add a bit of social engineering, getting others of the same ethno-linguistic group but ones from a separate locales, then add in totally different people from different regions, and languages (figure out the exact optimum ratio) and focus on objectivity.

    Then on top of that an IA, internal affairs (PNP/NBI), that keeps audit of police officers’ money & property, to ensure cops aren’t simply recycling drugs over there (steal from the rich & sell to the poor 😉 ).

    • karlgarcia says:

      Thanks Lance. Joe picked the picture.The Barangay is from the home town of ex president -current congress woman Gloria Arroyo.It is also the hometown of the Governor Pineda.

      The picture in the avatar is moi.

      About policing,I would not know if the reshuffling of the police force by PE Dutertewould be an extensive one or just full of hot air.

  19. Alfred says:

    sir i have a question..
    what if i post in social media about road which is ruin by the climate change.
    then our brgy officials get anger and they dont wANT to give brgy cert. to me what should I do?
    i know it is against on human rights. i have the right to get that cert right? i dont have any criminal offense done.. i am a student for now on

    • That is difficult to answer. The Barangay is the place for disputes to be resolved but I don’t know the appeal process, and don’t know if any readers have that expertise. My guess is that there is an appeal process within the municipality to raise it above the Barangay level. If you can’t find that, then you may have to seek guidance from an attorney. If you can, check back to see if anyone else has responded to your question. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help. Best of luck in getting the case resolved.

  20. Alfred says:

    sir i need a reply po.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Sorry for the late reply.
      I think most of what Joe said is correct.

      Every job seeker needs the barangay clearance as a prerequisite of a police clearance.

      First if you are sure that you are on the right then,
      If you have a problem withyour baranggay official then look for a councilor in the municipality who would listen to you.
      Next step is the mayor and the congressman.

      I know this is hard then if they still make it hard you then go to the public attorney’s office.

      I am sure there are many netizens who may have the same problem.
      Try fb group messenger chat.

  21. angelo says:

    Is the first lady of the elected barangay captain, can appoint positions to the respective kagawad or local counselor. is she liable to any decision made in barangay?

    • karlgarcia says:

      Short answer, she is not supposed to.

      • karlgarcia says:

        You do mean the unelected spouse right?
        I am no lawyer, but why would he/she have such powers.
        And we know nepotism is frowned upon but relatives still get appointed or hired.
        If so we can file a complaint to the Sangguniang baranggay once the need arises.
        I am no lawyer, I am just trying my best to answer your question.

  22. Joan says:

    I would like to ask if a barangay secretary is engage such immorality..will it be a legal basis for him her to step down from serving as a barangay official?

    • karlgarcia says:

      I found an article on how you could file a complaint against a baranggay officcial.

      Where to file complaint vs barangay head

      The Manila TimesApril 9, 2016
      Dear PAO,
      I am a resident of a certain barangay. I know that our Barangay Chairman is collecting fees from drivers of delivery vans who are parking in front of our Barangay Hall. These fees are not substantiated by receipts; thus, we do not have any record to account the same. I had a heated argument with the Brgy. Chairman last week regarding this matter including all anomalous transactions entered by him so I am now planning to file a complaint against him. Where will I file the complaint?

      Dear King,
      Your complaint against the Barangay Chairman can be lodged at the Sangguniang Bayan or Sangguniang Panlungsod exercising jurisdiction over your area. This is in consonance with the provision of Section 61 (c) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7160 which states that: “a complaint against any elective barangay official shall be filed before the sangguniang panlungsod or sangguniang bayan concerned whose decision shall be final and executory.”

      Section 60 of same law also provides that, an elective local official may be disciplined, suspended, or removed from office on any of the following grounds:

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      a) Disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines;

      b) Culpable violation of the Constitution;

      c) Dishonesty, oppression, misconduct in office, gross negligence, or dereliction of duty;

      d) Commission of any offense involving moral turpitude or an offense punishable by at least prision mayor;

      e) Abuse of authority;

      f) Unauthorized absence for fifteen (15) consecutive working days, except in the case of members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod, sangguniang bayan, and sangguniang barangay;

      g) Application for, acquisition of, foreign citizenship or residence or the status of an immigrant of another country; and

      h) Such other grounds as may be provided in this Code and other laws.

      An elected local official may be removed from office on any of the grounds enumerated above by order of the proper court.

      Please be guided by the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Barangay Sanggunian of Don Mariano Marcos vs Punong Barangay Martinez, (G. R. No. 170626, March 3, 2008), where the high court said that:

      “As the law stands, Section 61 of the Local Government Code provides for the procedure for the filing of an administrative case against an erring elective barangay official before the Sangguniang Panlungsod or Sangguniang Bayan. However, the Sangguniang Panlungsod or Sangguniang Bayan cannot order the removal of an erring elective barangay official from office,as the courts are exclusively vested with this power under Section 60 of the Local Government Code. Thus, if the acts allegedly committed by the barangay official are of a grave nature and, if found guilty, would merit the penalty of removal from office, the case should be filed with the regional trial court. Once the court assumes jurisdiction, it retains jurisdiction over the case even if it would be subsequently apparent during the trial that a penalty less than removal from office is appropriate. On the other hand, the most extreme penalty that the Sangguniang Panlungsod or Sangguniang Bayan may impose on the erring elective barangay official is suspension; if it deems that the removal of the official from service is warranted, then it can resolve that the proper charges be filed in court.” (Emphasis supplied)

      Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

      We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

      Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to

  23. karlgarcia says:

    Since I get questions about the Barangay, Ibam dropping this link about the training program of newly elected barangay officials.

  24. karlgarcia says:

    The federal/presidential form is now being pushed and the DILG’s approach is a per barangay information drive.

  25. karlgarcia says:

    May I interest you with the Barangay Justice System.

    Click to access Katarungang%20Pambarangay%20Handbook_0.pdf

  26. karlgarcia says:

    Supreme Court Issues Rules on Community Legal Aid Service

    The Philippine Supreme Court En Banc issued Administrative Matter No. 17-03-09-SC otherwise known as the Community Legal Aid Service Rule (“Rule”).

    Beginning with those who will pass the 2017 Bar Examinations, lawyers who will be admitted to the Philippine Bar and have signed the Roll of Attorneys for that particular year (“Covered Lawyers”) are now obliged to render one hundred twenty (120) hours of pro bono legal aid services to qualified parties. The Rule was promulgated to give meaning to the guarantee of access to adequate legal assistance under Article III, Section 11 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

    Pro Bono Legal Aid Services shall include the following:

    Representation of qualified litigants, as defined, in the trial courts in civil and criminal cases and quasi-judicial bodies in administrative cases, including proceedings for mediation, voluntary or compulsory arbitration, and alternative dispute resolution;
    Legal counselling, rendering assistance in contract negotiations and drafting of related legal documents, including memoranda of law and other similar documents that are provided to the client. Drafting may include policy work involving legal research and advocacy;
    Developmental Legal Assistance, consisting of rights awareness, capacity-building, and training in basic human rights, documentation, and affidavit-making, rendered in public interest cases, including legal assistance rendered by identified Public Interest Law Groups;
    Legal services provided as part of employment in the judiciary, executive, or legislative branches of government shall be considered sufficient compliance with this Rule, provided that the covered lawyer must already be in government service at least six months before admission into the Bar, provided further, that the legal services provided are substantive, as certified by the Heads of Office; and
    Legal services provided to marginalized sectors and identities, such as but not limited to: (a) urban poor; (b) workers/laborers; (c) overseas foreign workers; (d) children in conflict with the law; and (e) persons involved in gender issues.

    • That’s great! Maybe that will help some develop a conscience and moral principles based on giving.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Even if I think 120 hours is too short, everyone has a right to earn.
        It is a good start to start with giving, more good deeds will follow.

        • 120 hours is three 40 hour weeks, which is pretty demanding, I think. Some will be hard-pressed to organize that I suspect. Maybe there will be some new organizations popping up to schedule the opportunities for attorneys, to make it easier.

          • karlgarcia says:

            The top 10 bar passers are sought after the top law firms, they can rest assured.
            As for the next 50 the not so top but moneyed firms may be after them.
            As for the rest an NGO hopefully will be tailor made for them. Right now there is FLAG or Free legal assistance group, I think, maybe another one like them.
            The Public Attorney’s office maybe after Acosta can still be a respectable office.

  27. karlgarcia says:

    I have seen this filed before the one below is the one filed by Senator Gordon.
    Instead of jailing tambays, why not let them do community service.



    The Revised Penal Code provides for various crimes with varying penalties depending on the crime committed and the circumstances surrounding such crime. Many are in prison for committing non-violent or minor crimes punishable by the light penalty of arresto menor (1 day to 30 days] or the correctional penalty of arresto mayor (1 month and 1 day to 6 months], as the case may be. For instance, in case a public officer abandons his office to the detriment of public service as provided for in Art. 238 (Abandonment of office or position] of the Revised Penal Code, the said public officer shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor. Furthermore, in cases wherein any person who shall resist or seriously disobey any person in authority, he or she shall likewise suffer the penalty of arresto mayor. However, if such is committed to an agent of a person in authority which is not serious in nature, he or she shall suffer the penalty of arresto menor, as provided for in Art 151 (Resistance and disobedience to a person in authority or the agents of such person] of the Revised Penal Code.
    By using imprisonment as an answer to all crimes committed by such individuals, not only is the issue of safety in the community not addressed in any sustainable manner, but the cycle of impoverishment, loss of jobs, weakening of employment chances, damage to relationships, worsening of psychological and mental illnesses, and increased drug use is perpetuated. There are also many health risks associated with overcrowded prisons, including the spread of infectious disease, such as Tuberculosis and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV]. In many countries violence is a common element of prison life, especially where there is overcrowding.1
    In line with restorative justice, this bill proposes to introduce the alternative of community service wherein socially valuable work is performed without pay, and is required as part of a criminal sentence, especially one that does not include incarceration. Thus, this bill aims to rehabilitate the offender, the victim, and the community and thereby decongesting jails by authorizing the court, in its discretion^g,fequire community service in lieu of service in jail for offenses punishable by arresto menor and arresto mayor.

  28. Manuel Valdehuesa says:

    This is a great blog. Just stumbled on it. I hope to participate and contribute a piece on occasion.–Manny Valdehuesa

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