My Observations: Barangay BF Homes Assembly updated by Captain and Kagawads

This past Sunday, a general meeting of the Barangay BF Homes Assembly took place at the 2nd floor of the barangay hall along Elsie Gatches street, Parañaque City. Barangay chairman Paolo Marquez, who has been serving since the middle of 2018, led the reporting of achievements and discussion of recent developments. The general meeting was done in compliance with the order of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

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Seated at left were Barangay BF Homes Kagawad Sheryll Ortonio-Gonzales, Chairman Paolo Marquez, Sangguniang Kabataan chairperson Mariel Tumang and Kagawad Cielo Lazatin.

On the topics of health and emergency response, Marquez announced that a total of 427 ambulance services were rendered over a 3-month period while basic services rendered were at around two thousand transactions handling over one thousand and five hundred recipients. The barangay currently has two ambulances – one of which is a modern vehicle made possible by the office of then District II Representative Gus Tambunting – and the captain announced that the local residents’ access to use an ambulance has improved lately.

On general barangay transactions, Barangay BF Homes handled over sixty thousand transactions and processed over 13,400 cedulas (community tax certificates) since January this year. Such transactions were processed by a team in a small office at the ground floor of the barangay hall.

The captain also announced the issuance of a new ID card for barangay residents that will not only identify them properly but also be accepted by the local banks. The barangay launched a new system that records significant information of the residents like their names, addresses, contact numbers, social security numbers and more. The new ID card uses new technology that can be read by scanners and make electronic verification happen.

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The barangay captain shows the new ID card for residents.

On the topic of gender, it was announced that the barangay caught forty children or minors who violated the existing curfew laws. What Marquez and his team noticed was that there were several children, who came from depressed communities, who deliberately violated the curfew to get apprehended and take advantage of the cooler interiors of barangay hall which they found more comfortable to sleep in even for just a few hours. In response to this trend, the captain announced that the barangay has coordinated with the local Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to take curfew-violating minors into their own facility.

When it comes to crime, there were four cases of gambling and theft, twenty-two cases of physical injury, one case of rape and one case of the use of a minor as a drug courier.

On the topic of violence against women and children there were thirty cases of physical violence recorded plus three cases of psychological abuse and nine cases of economic abuse.

What struck people during the meeting was Marquez’s announcement that after carefully examining the physical evidence of a pregnant woman who got abused by a man she was involved with, he had the man arrested. The barangay captain stressed that his administration is aware of the delicate condition women experience when they are at least four months pregnant and they strongly oppose any form of physical abuse that affect them.

On the environment, Marquez said that the barangay has personnel working in coordination with the City Environment and Natural Resources Offices (CENRO) on declogging waterways and creeks, including those located near Presidents Avenue and Pergola Mall.

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Parañaque District II Representative Joy Tambunting (left) took time out from her busy schedule to appear in the general meeting and delivered some updates to the constituents.

On the topic of dengue, it was announced that Barangay BF Homes has one hundred and eighty cases recorded. The barangay captain said that his team will continue to perform fumigation by means of fogging which involves the use of a motor-powered machine that generates smoke (sourced from a specific chemical targeting mosquitoes). The use of misting or liquid spray, Marquez stressed, is not too effective on public places due to the rainy season. Such spray is effective only inside the household. Dengue is spread by mosquitoes (carrying the dengue virus) by means of biting a person’s skin. Barangay BF Homes is taking the dengue problem very seriously and, as I wrote before, they took action ever since. It is notable that in Parañaque City as a whole, dengue cases increased a lot this year with 1,702 cases (January 1 to September 14) recorded versus the 1,174 of the same period a year before. Paranaque is also the 4th highest ranking city in the National Capital Region (NCR) with dengue cases recorded.

Interestingly, Marquez explained that there are four strains of dengue virus and among them are two strains that can affect a person only once respectively (as the person becomes immune to the two strains after infection).

When it comes to stray dogs, the barangay now has a dog pound and already they turned over to the Parañaque City Veterinary Department ten dogs. Loose dogs are a long-time problem in the community, even inside BF Homes subdivision. Many times before, I encountered such dogs while traveling along Aguirre Avenue. It’s nice that the barangay has a facility and the personnel to get rid of the loose dogs to make the streets safer for both motorists and pedestrians.

On barangay zoning, Marquez reiterated that due to the reform under Republic Act Number 11032, the barangay no longer has the responsibility to issue business clearances and all business owners will have to go straight to city hall to apply for their respective business permits. In the old days, business owners had to apply for a business clearance at the barangay and once they receive it, only they could they go to the Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO) at the city government for the biz permit. This reform from the top is clearly a relief to the barangay which previously had to set up several computer units and printers to process all the applications of the many, many businesses of Barangay BF Homes each time the businesses are due to secure new permits.

More on zoning, it was announced that there were 126 construction permits issued and 84 permits for renovation and 24 permits for demolishing.

Regarding barangay livelihood, a total of seventy-four students have enrolled for cooking, caregiving and food-and-beverage courses. Future courses about carpentry and basic electrical work will be held very soon. Captain Marquez stressed the importance of carpentry as there is a good demand for carpenters and higher-than-average daily wages await them. As such, he encouraged manual laborers and other job seekers to take enroll in the carpentry course.

The birthing and lying-in center of the barangay will be renovated very soon with expansion in mind. The physical work on the center will take place sometime in 2020. On urban poor matters, the barangay organized off-site activities serving 2,368 residents and they organized feeding activities that served 4,750 people.

The barangay lupon reported that it has a total of 98 crime cases and 68 civil cases. A total of fourteen cases were dismissed while sixty-six were settled.

The Others

Early during the meeting, Parañaque District II Representative Joy Tambunting visited and announced that her office is working closely with the barangay and together they have new infrastructure projects in development. The working relationship between the barangay and the office of the congresswoman was described as harmonious.

Later, barangay kagawad Sheryll Ortonio-Gonzales announced that the gender committee successfully organized events they planned such as the “Bida ka Mars” activity and a seminar for violence against women and children. Barangay kagawad Cielo Lazatin reported that a donation drive of the barangay is ongoing and the committee on nutrition made a lot of progress. For her part, Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK) chairperson Mariel Tumang said her team just accomplished successfully a youth camp in Laguna province that very weekend. She also highlighted the accomplished events that attracted community youth in great numbers such as the Linggo ng Kabataan event (which attracted more than 300 participants), the Mutya ng BF Homes pageant (which drew a large audience and helped the BFSK’s Facebook page likes double), the Waste Wise for Rice drive and varied seminars.

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Barangay BF Sangguniang Kabataan chairperson Mariel Angela Tumang gave the assembly updates. On the foreground was SK Kagawad Alma Galindo.

The general meeting ended with Marquez’s closing remarks stressing that the barangay and its teams of personnel need the cooperation of the stakeholders – the businesses, the residents and community organizations – to realize continued services and make progressive change happen. Subsequently the members of the assembly and guests were served with catered food.

Under the leadership of captain Paolo Marquez, Barangay BF Homes is taking its public service seriously. What will happen in the next several months going into the year of  twenty-twenty should be interesting.

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