Like their Sangguniang Kabataan chairperson, other SK officials can expect to receive a monthly honorarium beginning this year following the release of implementing guidelines by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) recently.
In Catanduanes, 1,726 SK members as well as 630 SK secretaries and treasurers are supposed to benefit from the grant of the honorarium pursuant to Section 4 of Republic Act 11768 or the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act of 2015.
But the actual number of SK chairpersons and SK members is much lower: an inventory conducted by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) provincial office showed that there are only 301 SK chairpersons and 1,554 SK members remaining as of June 30, 2022.
Only Bagamanoc, Baras, Caramoran, Gigmoto, Panganiban, San Miguel and Viga still have the same number of SK chairpersons.
The number of barangays per town without SK chairpersons are as follows: Bato, 5; Pandan, 1; San Andres, 1; and Virac, 7.
On the other hand, a total of 172 SK members elected during the May 14, 2018 Barangay and SK Elections have left or resigned from their posts: Baras, 27; Bato, 18; Pandan, 30; Panganiban, 7; San Andres, 10; Viga, 44; and Virac, 53.
During the same period, however, additional SK members were appointed to vacant seats: Caramoran, 8; Gigmoto, 4; and San Miguel, 5.
Prior to the enactment of RA 11768, the incumbent SK members and officials were not entitled to the monthly honorarium, leading many to leave their posts.
In Local Budget Circular No. 148 issued on Dec. 23, 2022, DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said that the SK officials shall each receive a monthly honorarium, chargeable against SK funds, in addition to any other compensation provided by RA No. 11768 and shall be granted at the end of the month.
Other compensation not authorized by the Act, such as Mid-Year Bonus, Year-End Bonus, Clothing/Uniform Allowance, and other unauthorized benefits/allowances, shall not be granted to the SK officials, the circular stated.
On the other hand, the SK chairperson shall no longer be entitled to receive any honorarium charged against the regular SK funds, except those funded by higher-level LGUs, as he already receives pro-rata honorarium for every session of the Sangguniang Barangay attended.
The amount of the honorarium shall be subject to their attendance at SK meetings, deliberations, and official activities of the SK and shall be pro-rated based on the actual work and/or attendance vis-à-vis the work and/or meetings schedule or performance standards as may be prescribed under the SK internal rules, the circular stated.
It shall not exceed the rate equivalent to Salary Grade (SG) 9, Step 1, in the salary schedule implemented by the city or municipality where the barangay belongs and, in no case, shall it exceed the actual monthly compensation received by the SK chairperson.
The actual amount for the SK officials’ 2023 honoraria, however, would depend on the barangay’s actual income for 2021, of which 55% would be allocated for Personal Services of the barangay council, Virac municipal budget officer Henry Quiñones told the Tribune.
LBC 148 also specified that the amount to be allocated for the Personal Services (PS) shall not be more than 25 percent of the SK funds, which refers to 10 percent of the General Fund of the barangay and other funds accruing to the SK such as proceeds from fund-raising activities.
“If the prescribed rate of the Salary Grade cannot be fully provided, the proportionate and uniform monthly honorarium shall be determined and approved by the SK through a resolution,” it added.
The total honorarium to be included in the SK Annual Budget shall cover SK officials, whether the SK position is filled or vacant.
“The SKs are strongly advised to observe funding priorities in the determination of the amount of honorarium to be given to the entitled officials,” the DBM secretary stressed, adding that the SKs shall prioritize in the allocation of funds the delivery and implementation of local youth development and empowerment programs, projects and activities (PPAs) pursuant to Section 20 (c) of RA 10742, as amended by Section 6 of RA 11768.
The same circular also allows local government units to provide additional honorarium, as well as social welfare contributions and hazard pay, to the SK chairperson and the elected and appointed members through a local ordinance, upon request of the SK officials.
The grant shall be taken up as a financial subsidy to SK in the books of accounts of the LGU and shall be contingent on fulfilling the requirements of a memorandum of agreement between the parties.
In no case shall the grant of additional honoraria to SK officials and the SK chairperson result in a situation where their total honoraria will be more than the amount of honorarium being received by the barangay officials or the members of the Sangguniang Barangay, it added.
The grant shall not result in the total honorarium exceeding the rate equivalent to SG 9, Step 1, in the salary schedule of the municipality where the barangay belongs.