I had the privilege to be a Lupon Tagapamayapa for Barangay Lahug in Cebu City for a couple of years. When I saw this story on a national newspaper (Sunstar), I can’t help but feel proud to know that once I was a part of a very effective and successful system for our barangays to continue to be dispute-free. I would like to share the said story to you. Here it is…
Lahug wins award for dispute settlement system
For the first time in years, a Cebu City Lupong Tagapamayapa became the national winner of the Bureau of Local Government Supervision (BLGS) Incentives Award. For bagging the award, Barangay Lahug will receive P125,000 cash from President Arroyo herself in an awarding ceremony in Malacañang.
The past years, Lahug’s lupon had been chosen as the best in the City and in the region, but it never got past the regional level.The lupon serves as the conciliation and arbitration body of the barangay. It is composed of the barangay captain as chairman and its members.
Barangay Captain Mary Ann Delos Santos attributed the triumph to Lahug’s systematic process of hearing complaints and the Lupon’s 99.79 percent efficiency in handling cases. She said that of 938 cases filed before the barangay from July 2003 to June 2004, Lahug’s Lupon issued only two certificates to file action (CFA).
Under the law, CFAs are needed before cases that could not be amicably solved at the barangay level could be filed with the regular courts. Delos Santos, 2003 outstanding barangay captain, said the judges of the competition came to Lahug to countercheck the documents the barangay presented.
The judges, among them an Appellate Court justice and a “strict” representative from the Gerry Roxas Foundation were “very impressed” by Lahug’s computerized system. “What makes us very happy and I think all the Cebuanos as well, is that this is the first time ever that a winner came from Cebu. We bested imperial Manila” she said.
In Lahug, after a complaint is lodged before the tanod office, contending parties will be summoned by Delos Santos. She has 15 days to try to settle the matter, but achieve such by first delegating the task to her councilors. If the councilors could not help the parties reach a settlement, it is only then that the matter would be brought to Delos Santos for another mediation effort. But if the councilors can reconcile the parties, a written amicable settlement will be drafted and submitted to Delos Santos for her signature. That way, the councilors, aside from their legislative functions, are also delegated with executive powers.
Delos Santos said if the conflict is still unresolved in her level, it is only then that the matter is brought before the Lupon. Of the P125,000 cash reward, P50,000 was from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), which asked Lahug to submit a project proposal for its utilization.
The rest of the P125,000 were sourced from private institutions, said DILG 7 Director Roberto Abejero in a letter sent to Lahug. Delos Santos plans to use the amount for the barangay’s clean and green and solid waste management programs with its “Kwarta sa Basura” project.