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With Greater Power Comes Greater Responsibilities

If you think being elected as a public official is all glamour, popularity and brains; well, think again. There are lots of responsibilities, big and small, which may stretch your patience to its limits as soon as you take oath and take a seat on one of the coveted posts.

With the Local Barangay Elections just around the corner on May 14, we will be able to see all kinds of personalities running gunning for different positions. There are the re-electionists, some arrogant and power-hungry individuals, others who are aiming to “earn big” while “masking” public service, and those who act as if everything is all drama and beauty pageantry-like. But there are also those who are idealists and really aim to serve the public; people who command trust and respect as guiding principles toward upholding the law.

To be a good public servant, you must be ready to set aside personal differences and cater to problems no matter how small or trivial it may be. Your dedication must be resolute and never wavering. It helps a lot if you have good understanding of the law, on both local and national level. Though not all are intellectually gifted or born leaders, everything will come into form just as long as the individual running for an electoral post is an able learner and has the heart for public service.

Let us look into some trivia and hard facts that surely newbies in politics may gawk at. Some of the information outlined below may be a hard pill to swallow, but they are hard truths which no one can refute.

  • Salaries of elected Barangay Officials are on a quarterly basis. Yes, it is paid every 3 months. So if one of your reasons to run for an elected seat is just to have a job closer to home, you must have backup to cater to your daily personal expenses.

  • Barangay officials are bound to submit annual performance reports, and/or monthly/quarterly reports, or as deemed necessary by the city-government and its appropriate agencies.

  • As a public official, you are bound to champion public interest and safety above all. It is a BIG NO-NO to say that you are not informed or not made aware of situations which may be detrimental to the health and safety of the communities. Remember, your salary as a public official is not being paid by the people’s taxes for just sitting idly chatting or sipping coffee or just lying around. People expect timely action on everything that needs to be done.

  • Take out the “I don’t care attitude” from your vocabulary. You are elected to serve and not just a mere designation.

  • The whole barangay community’s problem is your concern. So if you have your own excess personal baggage, learn to thrust it aside or try to multi-task for as long as you do your public service duty first and foremost.

For a more details Do’s and Don’ts on what makes public officials tick, you may refer to Republic Act No. 6713, or better known as "Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees." The entire law can be accessed through this link, for your information and guidance.
Ignorantia legis neminem excusat  (ignorance of the law excuses no one). Taking a quote from former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim: “The law applies to all, otherwise none at all.”

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