Named for an ancient tribal village, the barangay is the smallest political unit in the Philippines. Republic Act Number 8524 or the Local Government Code of 1991 created these entities to replace municipal and town councils. An elected captain earns his salary by heading his barangay with the help of councilors and several officials.
Barangays are formed from contiguous territories with at least 2,000 people, or in densely-populated cities, at least 5,000 people. Each unit has a captain, seven councilors, youth council chairman, secretary and treasurer. The unit is responsible for maintaining order, delivering basic city services, regulating local markets and multipurpose facilities, and organizing local festivals and sports competitions. A barangay assembly, composed of barangay residents who are 15 years and older, meets at least twice a year propose, adopt or amend local laws.
Elections for the captain, seven councilors and youth council chairman are held every three years on the last Monday in October. These elected officials then appoint a secretary and treasurer. Each councilor heads one of eight committees. For example, the youth council chairman is in charge of the youth and sport committee. Other committees include peace and order, education, health, agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, and appropriations and finance.
Barangay captains and the other barangay officials do not officially receive salaries according to the Government Code. But they are entitled to honoraria and other allowances, as defined by their barangays. These amounts must be at least 1,000 pesos, or $23, per month. However, they may not exceed the first step of government salary grade 14, which ranges from 8,962 pesos ($205) to 11,949 pesos ($273) per month, according to the most recent information available from the Philippines Department of Budget and Management.
All barangay officials, including the captain, receive additional benefits. These include a Christmas bonus in cash and insurance coverage. They receive preferential treatment in being appointed to government posts to which they are entitled after their terms. Their years of barangay service are counted as part of any civil service eligibility. They also receive free hospitalization, medical care, medicines, testing and surgeries in government hospitals. However, extreme emergencies allow confinement in private hospitals, if expenses are charged to barangay funds at a maximum of 5,000 pesos ($114). Two of each captain’s legitimate, dependent children may attend state colleges without paying tuition or fees, but only for the term of office.