the barrio system effect

A barrio is a Spanish word which means district or neighborhood.

In the Philippines it is the smallest administrative division or form of local government unit, and is officially referred to today as Barangay.

In popular Bisaya slang, when someone says “barrio barrio,” it would generally mean that in a gathering, people are  grouping up according to their political or regional affiliations.

Say for example in a party, where majority of the people invited do not know each other, an individual is most likely going to  group up with others who he or she is familiar with in terms of the school another may come from, or from a certain neighborhood in the city where he or she lives in.

If you came with a group, it is more likely that you will stick around with your group, rather than mingle around with the rest of the guests in the party.  Such is the nature with most traditional gatherings, as I have observed, in the Bisaya-speaking regions of this country.

“Barrio-barrio,” may also be perceived negatively, in that in an organization where everyone presumably has a common goal or purpose, it is but natural for people to try and work, or be affiliated, only to a select few others, with the purpose of achieving that common goal by themselves.  To each his own, and in this case it’s my group first.

Now in an organization, whether it be big or small, people are usually broken down into smaller units.  It usually depends on a common criteria, such as a role one plays in that organization.  While this may be a good way to get things going fast, sometimes with the crab-mentality that is common for people in this region, it may come down more as a hindrance to the organization.

It is only normal, after all, to be competitive.  But when it comes down to grouping just for the sake of one’s own selfish desires, instead of the organization’s common goal, then that may be the start of the downfall of an organization.

The barrio-barrio effect also negatively impacts an organization working for a common goal in that people who have been grouped together for a long time, tend not to be so open to newer members.  If one is asked to help out or transfer to another group, it might be seen as a disturbance to what he/she has with his/her current group, forgetting in the process that it is, after all, for the common goal of the organization that he/she became a member of in the first place.

In the end, there is no easy way to cure this effect.  While a good leader will always remind the members of their common goals, uncooperative members will always be a pain in the head.  Leaders will become subject to the barrio-barrio effect too.  It is always hard for the leader to be purely unbiased.  After all, the leader would have come from a certain “barrio” too.

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Notice: This article was published on August 18, 2009 and the content above may be out of date.