The Barangay as a political unit is the most enduring legacy of our pre-Hispanic past. As pupils we learned that the word barangay traces its roots to balangay – the small but sturdy boats that our Malay ancestors used to navigate the rough seas of the Pacific to settle in these lands. As barangay officials, it would be best to understand the history of this unique political unit so as to better recognize its indispensability to effective local and national governance. Barangay as a Partnership in Governance
A barangay also known by its former Spanish adopted name, the barrio, is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for a village, district or ward. Municipalities and cities are composed of barangays. In place names barangay is sometimes abbreviated as “Brgy” or “Bgy”. As of December 31, 2006 there are a total of 41,995 barangays throughout the Philippines.
Governance relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. It consists either of a separate process or of a specific part of management or leadership processes. Sometimes people set up a government to administer these processes and systems.
In the case of a business or of a non-profit organization, governance relates to consistent management, cohesive policies, processes and decision-rights for a given area of responsibility. While a barangay is the smallest unit of government, it is still part of government as a local government unit. Since it is in charge of governance of the affairs of the barangay, through elected barangay officials and contributes to the overall governance of the country, it is therefore not only a partner in governance but is in fact an important component of national governance.
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