Friday, April 21, 2006

Barangay North Bay Boulevard South (NBBS), Navotas, Manila (March 22 - 26, 2005)

Reflection Paper

Barangay North Bay Boulevard South (NBBS), Navotas, Manila

March 22 - 26, 2005


What is barangay? Barangay is the lowest state structure in Philippines which same with village in term of the state structure of Indonesia. Barangay North Bay Boulevard South or Barangay NBBS have population on 70,668 persons and Roman Catholic as majority religion. By the number of the Barangay NBBS population made it become the biggest population in Navotas.

Navotas is an area as a part of Manila (the capitol of Philippines) but the people still live under the standard or usually called with urban poor community.

Barangay NBBS, totally have 300 workers to run the government administration as follow:

a. Barangay Chairman (Head of Village in term of Indonesia).

b. Barangay Staff.

c. Barangay Kagawat or Counselor.

d. Barangay Council.

Barangay Chairman and Barangay Kagawat (Barangay Counselor) elected directly by the barangay people every 3 years and for 3 times (it means that totally 9 years). The candidate who want to be Barangay Chairman have to provide the financial support by his or her own, especially for the campaign so it is not surprising us that all the Barangay Chairman come from rich family. These condition also almost the same with Indonesia which the candidate of head village has to provide the financial support for the campaign by his or her own.

The Barangay Chairman election very sensitive with money politics (vote buying). The candidate could make money politics (vote buying) direct or un direct. The direct money politics (vote buying) could be done by giving some money to the voter (giving directly by the candidate or by succes team). The undirect money politics (vote buying) could be done by giving a lot of support or help the voter by providing their basic needs. The help have purpose to build the voter kindness debt to the candidate.

The financial sources of Barangay NBBS:

a. Sharing with the local government (regency in term of Indonesia).

b. Tax collection from the people.

c. Tax collection from company, factory and the Fish Port.

d. Real Property Tax (RPT).

The barangay system financial support totally different with the village financial support in Indonesia. In Indonesia, village has no authority to collect the tax directly from the village assets. The village financial support really depends on the allocation from regency and/or province.

Tax collection directly by the barangay has to prioritize transparency, participation and accountability to avoid negative assumptions.

Learning points

Some learning points from Navotas are:

  1. Poverty indicator is not just a matter of how much money the people could earn a day.
  2. Migration and family planning are just several of the problems on urban poor.
  3. Housing is a human basic needs which the state has to fulfill it.

Understanding of Point Identified

The people of Barangay NBBS including in the category of urban poor community which almost all the people do for living as a daily labor in the Fish Port. The Fish Port supply the fish needs to all over Manila and some of the others province in Philippines. The fishermen from several provinces sell the fish in the Fish Port of Novotas. The Fish Port divided becomes three markets, the Market 1, the Market 2 and the Market 3. The market 1 and market 2 become as one part and market 3 become the another one. Herewith some differences between market 1, market 2 and market 3:

Market 1 and Market 2

Market 3

1. Operate start from 7 pm until 5 am or even till 9 am (depend on the fish quantity).

1. Operate start from 9 am until at noon.

2. Selling fish in big amount.

2. The buyer could buy the fish in small amount.

3. Total of the broker reach more than 70 brokers.

3. Total of the broker less than 50 brokers.

4. The total of daily labor reaches more than 300 workers.

4. The total of daily worker less than 200 workers.

5. Selling the small kind of fish.

5. selling the small and big kind of fish and others (sea grass and shell-fish)

The people of Barangay NBBS mostly work as daily labor in market 1 and market 2. They could earn average 200 pesos per day or equivalent with US$ 3,7[1] so a month they could earn 6,000 pesos or equivalent with US$ 111 We got the calculation with assumption the people of Barangay NBBS work on the Fish Port for 30 days without holiday as daily labor. The payment of 200 pesos per day as daily labor actually still under the standard because The Philippines government already decide 300 pesos per day as the minimum payment.

Working as daily labor on the Fish Port deeply depends on the fish season. When the season come with a lot of fish meaning that the Fish Port will need a lot of daily labor and make consequences to advance the working hour without any added payment. If there is not so many fish, most of daily labors lost their jobs because the broker[2] is un operate. The fish seldom made consequences to daily labor not receive the daily payment so the people of Barangay NBBS have to look for another jobs and usually become pedicap, driver of motorbike or open a stall at their house for who has saving for the modal or capital. The alternative income also comes from the payment of 5 pesos per kilo by removing the peel of garlic.

The people of Barangay NBBS usually have to pay fro house rent, water and electricity in average 2,000 pesos monthly or equivalent with US$ 37 so they still have at least 4,000 pesos or equivalent wit US$ 74 which will be use to fulfill daily basic needs.

There are so many fabrics (manufacture industry) in the Barangay NBBS area, the fabric of sardine for example. The fabrics could not reserve for local workers from the people of Barangay NBBS even they already asked to be prioritize to get job in the fabrics but the fabrics still using workers from the others area. The company always refused to give priority to people of Barangay NBBS and always excuse that the company need skill workers (well trained) not un skill workers.

If we connect into Millennium Development Goals (MDG) for the first goal, Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger with target 1, halve the proportion of people whose income less than one dollar a day, we could say that the people of Barangay NBBS not include the category of poor people because they could earn US$ 3.7 per day. The MDG actually 100% true and the indicator also have to look the others context in the people. One family in the people of Barangay NBBS usually has 5 children. US$ 3.7 for the daily income or 4,000 pesos for the monthly income which have to cover all the human basic needs for a family with 5 children is pretty not enough, especially when the family also has to cover the parents. The income of US$ 3.7 per day mean the people of Barangay NBBS not include as poor people but the income is very not enough to fulfill the basic needs. The less income condition have impact to the people of Barangay NBBS go into debt trap situation with the creditors.[3] The creditors made debt with 20% interest from the basic loan. The debt trap situation could not release with the consumptive life style (for example for bought TV or DVD player or even for mobile phone with its reload).

The others context which also have contributed to the level of poverty is in a very small and unpretentious house sometimes have to cover 2 - 3 families. If in one family have 7 persons (father, mother and 5 children), so in one small and unpretentious house have to cover for 14 - 21 persons.

We could analysis this condition from several aspects as follow:

a. Its show that there are not enough proper houses for a family in Barangay NBBS. Providing proper houses for the citizen is a must and also as state responsibility because it's a basic needs.

b. Its show that there is not enough land or space which the government could use to build proper house for people because it's already own by private (individual and/or company). This is the example of negative impact from asset (land) capitalization and trading based on market competition.

c. The people of Barangay NBBS could not afford to build a house even for unpretentious house because it's very high cost.

One of the caused for the increasing of population in Barangay NBBS because the people have no attention and even absolutely don't care with family planning. We could find easily so many babies, children and pregnant women in Barangay NBBS. Some people said that it's impossible to implement the family planning because its contradiction with the Catholic Church faith, especially on contraception. Actually, the Catholic Church just against the stopping of natural fertilization and killing (abortion). Family planning is not just in term to delimitation of population by reducing the number of birth but more focus on the planning to build a family with pay attention seriously on internal capacity to become prosperous family. A family which have 5 - 7 children doesn't mean have no family planning if the family really already planned to have 5 - 7 children by pay attention seriously their own capacity to provide physical and non physical needs (including financial aspect). Build up a family without family planning will have negative impact for the children because the parents could not provide proper house, food, education and the others basic needs. Child labor in the Fish Port also one of cause from not pay attention on family planning. The others cause, the level of un school child increasing rapidly just because the economic obstacles.

Another factors in the community, like playing bingo, get drunk and play fighting cock also have big contribution to the poverty. Playing bingo has contribution to the poverty because they play by using money (gambling)[4] and they always playing bingo gambling almost every time even some people said that playing bingo just for fun or wasting time.

One of the factors which also contribute to the situation in Navotas (not just in Barangay NBBS) is the migration. The citizens from the others provinces, especially from Visayas[5] have expectation that in Navotas could find jobs and money easily to change their live better. Some of the people of Barangay NBBS justifying that its easy to get job and money, just work in the Fish Port, but actually not absolutely right because their live in Barangay not so good. Hoping and justifying that the city will give a better living (one of the motivation from wanderer), migration also could happened because there is no job to make a better living in their home town.

The Barangay NBBS really conscious that the migration is the fundamental problem. The Barangay NBBS simultaneously providing information, explanation to the people to realize that it is not so easy to get job and find money for better living in Navotas. Barangay NBBS already helped some people who want to get back to their home town by providing financial support or by giving a letter of recommendation for Transportation Company to help, like giving discount for the tickets.

The actual problem which still happen in Barangay NBBS is demolition as a part of national government project, road widening. Road widening project will demolish 300 head family which have been stayed there for 15 - 20 years have to loss their house. Barangay NBBS always said that there is no demolition if there is no relocation but some people still doubt it. On the other side, barangay could take clear position on demolition problem. Barangay just said that the road widening is a project from national government which already programmed and barangay just could providing information and ask the victims to coordinate with NGO.

The other thing that the people concern on Barangay NBBS is why barangay just have community development program, like cementing. The people feel that it is not enough for barangay just have Community development program because the people also need capacity building program from barangay.


The condition of Barangay NBBS people's which included the urban poor category actually based on several main problems as follow:

a. Poverty as consequence from migration to Navotas.

b. The state could not provide enough jobs for the people.

c. There are not so many well trained workers.

d. Education cost is very high.

e. There is not enough formal and informal education (including providing comprehensive information on family planning).

f. Un clear stand position of Barangay NBBS on several community problems.

[1] By using the assumption US$ 1 equivalent with 54 pesos.

[2] Broker is an appellation for people who own the space for transaction in the Fish Port. All the fisherman have to sell their haul of fish pass through broker (sometimes broker have their own ship) for auction.

[3] Creditors usualy called with Mumbai because the creditors usually come form India and/or the field of Arab

[4] Every person have to spent 5 pesos for minimal to play 4 cards in one round playgame.

[5] The urbans from Visayas become the important factor because the amount of urban from Visayas is the biggest.


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