While considered by law as volunteers, the barangay workers take their jobs seriously.
When news came out that the government would give their productivity incentives, they were very happy to hear it, including Maria Arsenia, barangay health workers (BHW) president in the municipality of Sibonga.
“Makatabang gyud ni namo kay mga volunteers raman mi. Wala man gyud mi sweldo. Malipay rami kon unsay mga gipanghatag sa amo. (This will really help us because, as volunteers, we have no salary. We are happy with whatever is given to us),” she said.
Arsenia, 55, said she had been serving as BHW since 1993. Before, she did not have any allowance. Now, Arsenia receives P700 from municipal government quarterly and P300 from the barangay monthly.
This was, however, prior to the Republic Act 7883 or the “Barangay Health Workers Benefits and Incentives Act of 1995.”
The law defined BHWs as those who have undergone training programs under any accredited government and non-government organization and who voluntarily renders primarily health care services in the community after having been accredited to function as such by the local health board in accordance with the guidelines promulgated by the Department of Health.
Under the law, BHWs are entitled to receive hazard and subsistence allowances and other benefits from the government.
The local government units in Cebu also provide cash incentives to other barangay workers serving their localities. But the amount varies from one barangay and town or city to another depending on its financial capability.
In Perrelos, Carcar City, Barangay Tanod Gerry Abella said the allowances assure him that he will have something to receive every month, quarterly and yearly.
In Carcar City, every tanod receives Php 650 from the city government every quarter. Their monthly stipend from their barangay is given per month while the Capitol distributes their cash incentives every year.
The Capitol also annual incentives to the barangay workers: P2,400 for BHWs, barangay nutrition scholars, and day care workers, and P1,500 for barangay animal health aides and tanods.
Based on the lists gathered by the Cebu Provincial Government, there are 25,719 barangay workers in the province of Cebu in 2013.