The national government has allotted P1 million each for selected barangays across the country in 2017 under its bottom-up budgeting (BuB) scheme.
Governor Hilario P. Davide III welcomed all the barangay officials who attended the BuB consultation held in different venues in Cebu City last February 18.
He said the BuB gives them the opportunity to fully exercise their local autonomy in charting their own progress and development.
Local Government Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento said this would be the first time that Malacañang would implement the BuB in the barangay level.
He said BuB aims to fuel the growth of barangays starting with the construction of basic facilities. The BuB will augment the existing 20 percent development fund of the barangays. Most of them are dependent on the Internal Revenue Allotment fund. The development fund of each barangay only ranges around P250,000 only.
In its pilot year, however, Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said only 30 percent of the 42,036 barangays will be able to participate.
Abad clarified that only those that have the capability to implement and liquidate the government funds will comprise the first batch of barangays to get BuB projects.
The criteria for evaluating the barangays also include the compliance of the full disclosure policy, barangay development plan, and the conduct of a barangay assembly.
“We are also careful that the selection process of the barangays and projects is not distorted by partisan (politics), otherwise the credibility of the reform is diminished,” Abad added amidst lingering questions that the BuB was used in politics.
Sec. Abad further stated that those who have benefited from the KALAHI-CIDSS Project will most likely be prioritized.
KALAHI-CIDSS is a community-driven development project implemented by Department of Social Welfare and Development in the typhoon Yolanda-affected areas. It is the funded by the Asian Development Bank.
The funds will be used only for disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery as well as the provision of basic facilities and services enumerated under section 17 (b) (1) of the Local Government Code of the Philippines.
The late Department of the Interior and Local Government Sec. Jesse Robredo introduced buB. It is also known as the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process.
It is an institutionalized reform program that pushes for improvements in government transparency, accountability and responsiveness.
It is a two-way process where people participate in the budgeting process and enhances government’s understanding on the needs at the forefront.
The Aquino administration implemented the program first with the cities and municipalities.
Global Initiative recognized the BuB program for Fiscal Transparency as one of the five Best Practices in Fiscal Transparency from across the world in the recent Open Government Partnership summit in Mexico.