Poe, who met recently with barangay officials of Tarlac and Isabela, urged local leaders to take advantage of their privileges as public servants and apply for study grants available to barangay officials and workers who wish to pursue higher education or skills training.
“While having a college degree is not a requirement to be able to serve in our barangays, I believe it is to a public servant’s interest to pursue higher education and constantly work for self-improvement. This will contribute to excellence in public service,” Poe said.
Under Section 393 of the Local Government Code, barangay officials and their legitimate children, during their incumbency, are exempted from paying tuition and matriculation fees in state universities and colleges located in the province or city to which their barangay belongs.
Eligible for these study grants are the barangay captain, barangay treasurer, barangay secretary and regular members of the barangay council. Their dependents, aged 21 and below, may also apply for grants for their college education.
Also, under the Republic Act No. 7883 or the Barangay Health Workers’ Benefits and Incentives Act of 1995, educational programs and scholarship benefits should be given to health workers in barangays.
The Sangguniang Kabataan chair and council members can also seek study grants from the Commission on Higher Education.
“We should encourage our barangay leaders to constantly upgrade their knowledge and skills as public servants because they are the frontline service providers of government at the grassroots level,” Poe said.
The independent presidential aspirant urged local government units to set aside funds from the LGU budget for scholarships for dependents of barangay leaders who may not be eligible for study grants from the national government because of age limitations.
“Kung ang ibang mga propesyunal ay nabibigyan ng scholarships, bakit hindi rin ang ating mga barangay officials and workers. Kung nais nilang patuloy madagdagan ang kanilang kaalaman, bakit naman natin ipagkakait sa kanila yun?” she said.
Any Filipino aged 21 and above, who can read and write, and is a registered voter in the barangay for six months preceding the elections, is allowed to run for a barangay position.
There are 42,028 barangays in the Philippines. #