Barangay officials should be exempted from paying income taxes and be considered as members of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), according to Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles of the National Unity Party (NUP).
Nograles, who represents the 1st district of Davao City, said these and other incentives he is pushing under House Bill 1693 should be approved by Congress as a way of repaying barangay officials for their hard work as force multipliers at the grass roots level.
The Davao city lawmaker said HB 1693 or the proposed “Barangay Incentives Act of 2013” also seeks to promote and enhance the efficiency and responsiveness of barangay officials and employees.
The bill covers all barangay officials, including tanods and members of the Lupong Tagapamayapa.
Under Nograles’ bill, all barangay officials and employees would be considered as GSIS members and covered by life insurance and social security protection, including retirement, disability, separation and unemployment benefits, subject to the limitations provided by law.
"These are government workers who make democracy work at the grassroots level in the smallest territorial and political subdivision of the government which is the barangay," Nograles said.
On top of being exempted from paying income taxes on their salaries, barangay officials will also be covered by government medical and health insurance programs as provided under Nograles’ bill.
They will also be entitled to free legal services from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) if they are involved as party litigants in administrative or criminal cases
filed in connection with the performance of their duties, Nograles said.