Barangay workers: ‘We are volunteers so we are thankful for the cash gifts’

The joy of helping other people is the driving force of the barangay volunteer-workers. Receiving any form of compensation is only a secondary thought.

Juana Aliviano, a barangay health worker (BHW) in Alpaco, City of Naga, shared why she has continued to volunteer for more than 21 years now.

Lipay kaayo ug nagpasalamat mi nga nakatabang mi sa mga bata nga naa na silay padulngan (We are happy and thankful that we were able to help guide the children in our community),” said Jessa Gozon, a day care worker (DCW) in Barangay South Poblacion, municipality of San Fernando.

Aliviano, 46, started her volunteer work in the middle of 1990s. She then served as barangay kagawad in Alpaco from 2007 to 2013. At the time, she was tasked to head the committee on education but she never left her work as BHW.

After she lost in the last barangay election, she worked as a utility worker in the barangay.

She recalled the time the barangay captain told her to give up her volunteer work because she already received compensation from the barangay. She refused, saying that she cannot just turn her back on her volunteer work because she is passionate about it.

Going to the gym in the city of Naga where the distribution was held last December 18, Aliviano said she was uncertain if she can receive cash incentive.

Fortunately, her name is still in the master list as submitted by their BHW president.

Looking back, the Alivianos were able to send their four children to college sans stable income. Her husband is a farmer.

Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, who was present during the cash distribution in Naga, praised the barangay workers for their volunteerism. She said they are a big help in implementing the programs of the government down to the household, especially during calamities.

In Naga, there are 379 BHWs, 29 barangay nutrition scholars (BNSs), DCWs, 447 tanods, and eight barangay animal health aides (BAHAs).

In San Fernando, there are 243 BHWs, 20 BNSs, 23 DCWs, and 417 tanods. Apart from their cash incentives, the barangay workers also received honoraria from their barangays. Some cities and municipalities also gave compensation.

“Bisag gamay ra atong sweldo padayon gihapon ang atong trabaho kay wala man ta nag apas sweldo, bolantaryo ra man ni (Even if we are underpaid, let us continue to work because this is not about the salary; this is voluntary),” Gozon added.