Village officials warned not holding assemblies a violation

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/8 March) – Officials of the 1,162 barangays in Davao Region are required to hold assemblies this month to update their constituents on their accomplishments after winning in the May 2018 barangay elections, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)-11 director Alex Roldan said on Friday.

In a press briefing, Roldan warned barangay officials that they would face serious violation if they fail to hold assemblies, which are mandated under Section 397 of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991.

The law requires barangays to hold two annual assemblies – in March and October – and shall be attended by “actual residents of the barangay at least 15 years of age or over, citizens of the Philippines, and duly registered in the list of barangay assembly members,” he said.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Proclamation 599 in October 2018 declaring Saturdays and Sundays of March and October of every year as Barangay Assembly Days.

He said officials must update the public of the achievements and the plans they want to undertake in their respective barangays.

“This is a requirement to all the barangays that they should have these two barangay assemblies where they will report on the state of the barangays. This will also be the venue for constituents to ask questions and hold dialogue between barangay officials and the community,” he said.

Roldan said assemblies also give constituents the chance to raise their concerns with barangay officials.

“We are encouraging the communities to check with their barangays on the schedule of the barangay assembly so that they can attend and they can raise their concern or whatever support they can give to help their barangay,” he said.

The official urged the public to participate in the assemblies and offer suggestions to the barangay officials on what they must do to spur development in their communities.

“Sad to say, very few attend the assemblies. By the time the problem arises, they want to know why there was no discussion on this matter, only to realize that they have the option to engage the officials in this venue but they do not participate,” he said.

DILG 11 legal officer Louie Limbaro said officials who fail to comply can be charged with dereliction of duty, and possible violation of the RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards, which requires public officials and employees to submit annual performance reports, and RA 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991.

He said a constituent of the barangay may file their complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)