Friday, February 20, 2015

Communities get P20.9-B support via Bottom-up Budgeting

From the Website of GPH - Government of the Philippines

Communities get P20.9-B support via Bottom-up Budgeting

Governance conditions essential to LGU-citizen engagement
To empower communities and strengthen local governments, the National Government has released P20.9 billion to various agencies for the implementation of 14,300 Bottom-up Budgeting (BuB) projects in cities and municipalities nationwide.

Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said, “The DBM is always intensifying its campaign for citizen participation in public spending. While the National Government has the mandate to deliver public services, we want to develop the capacity of local government units (LGUs) and civil service organizations (CSOs). Through BuB, local governments and CSOs can effectively respond to the different needs of their communities.”

Though majority of the amount will be channeled to agencies like the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Health (DOH), P2.83 billion will be released by the DBM directly to the respective LGUs through the Local Government Support Fund.

However, the release of these funds is conditional to LGU compliance with the following governance conditions: a) not receiving an adverse report from the Commission on Audit (COA); b) compliance with the Full Disclosure Policy; and c) submission of their LGU Public Financial Management Improvement Plan. Currently, 573 cities and municipalities have yet to comply with these governance conditions while 1,017 have already complied with the requirements.

Abad said, “Political affiliation does not play any role in the allocation and release of BuB funds for priority local projects. Our only criterion is that LGUs comply with set governance conditions. We urge local government officials to prioritize their compliance with these conditions. Otherwise, their allocated BuB funding will be forfeited.”

The BuB projects were first jointly identified by LGUs and local CSOs through a participatory planning and budgeting exercise.

At a BuB forum in Vigan City last February 13 and attended by almost 200 local chief executives from the Ilocos Region, Abad delivered a presentation on the reform agenda of the Administration and their goal of deepening the devolution to LGUs.

Abad said during the forum: “Bottom-up Budgeting in the Philippines is a landmark reform, because we are the first country in the world that has implemented participatory budgeting at the national level.”

Last September 2014, the Philippines was granted the Gold Open Government Award for the BuB program in the inaugural Open Government Partnership (OGP) Awards in New York City. The country was recognized for its outstanding efforts to deepen citizen engagement in the budget process. Along with Denmark and Montenegro, the country was given one of the three gold awards to recognize innovative and citizen-driven initiatives in designing and implementing public policy.

GPH Website

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