FREQUENT VISITS TO Bohol by Sec. Butch Abad of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has proven just how serious the Aquino Administration is on implementing bottom-up budgeting (BuB) in order to curb poverty.
As can be remembered from his October 5, 2014 visit, he told Bohol local chief executives (LCEs) that “BuB is governance which starts from the grass roots level going up and this gives you more than a glimpse of what is really happening in our communities and thus giving you the opportunity to address the issues from the ground.”
Joint Memorandum Circular No. 6 issued last February 27 of this year by the DBM, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Management (DSWD), and the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) elaborates the policy guidelines and procedures for BuB implementation for Fiscal Year 2015.
Said joint circular was addressed to all the department heads of the DA, DepEd, DOE, DENR, DOH, DILG, DOLE, DSWD, DOT, DTI, NCIP AND TESDA; as well as to the Administrators of NEA and NIA, all city and municipal mayors, all Sangguniang Bayan and Panlungsod Members, and all others concerned.
BuB is an approach to the preparation of agency budget proposals, taking into consideration the development needs of the LGUs as identified in their respective local poverty reduction action plans (LPRAP) that shall be formulated with the strong participation of basic sector organizations and other civil society organizations (CSOs).
The program seeks to increase citizens’ access to local service delivery through a demand-driven budget planning process and to strengthen government accountability in local public service provision.
Earlier concerned about the slow implementation of the BuB, the national government is now asking all provincial governors to help in keeping track of the program.
Hence, Gov. Edgar M. Chatto has requested DILG-Bohol and its community mobilizers to be more aggressive in its information dissemination and monitoring through the use of print and local media.
The governor spearheaded the signing of the BuB Specific Implementation Agreement (SIA) Thursday at the Governor’s Mansion with City Mayor John Geesnell Yap and Municipal Mayors Francisco Pepito, Marietta Sumaylo, Danilo Guivencan and Jacinto Naraga of the towns of Batuan, Dauis, Dimiao and San Isidro, respectively.
He issued a directive to anchorpersons of province-paid local radio programs to accommodate radio guestings of DILG community mobilizers to fully explain to the people the importance of BuB in poverty reduction through proper project planning, budgeting and implementation.
The process has already started earlier this week through the province-paid radio program “Padayon Bol-anon” over radio station DYTR with Gene Ugboc and Janet Villarojo as anchorpersons.
As already explained by Sec. Abad, the method is a grass roots participatory budgeting which gives the chance to the lower levels of government to voice out the real concerns of the community and gives them first-hand information of the issues to be addressed.
Same issues and concerns could then be properly clarified and classified as to their levels of importance and their urgency of needs so that more urgent concerns could be prioritized and given immediate attention.
The LGU plan, called the Local Poverty Reduction Action Plan (LPRAP), contains the programs and projects collectively drawn through a participatory process by the LGU with CSOs and other stakeholders and directly addresses the needs of the poor constituencies and the marginalized sectors in the city or municipality.
Its formulation and monitoring is then spearheaded by a group of Local Poverty Reduction Action Team (LPRAT) or simply called community mobilizers.
Municipalities must provide a cash counterpart for the BuB program equal to a percentage of their FY 2014 Local Development Fund (LDF) which must be sourced from LGU funds, but not necessarily from the LDF.
The percentage shall be based on the proportion of the BuB and National Community-Driven Development Program (NCDDP) funding to 20% of the LGU Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), or the LDF.
BuB also could teach our leaders on the ground how to be able to delve deeper into more complicated projects, study them and give more importance to the ones more important to poverty alleviation and the sustenance of livelihood.
Part of the idea of BuB is to enable our LGUs to properly account for their money; thus giving more credibility to our leaders by being transparent in their dealings with the public.
Understanding however that capabilities of LGUs could not happen overnight, the national government is incentivizing the system where capabilities would be properly recognized and rewarded; this way, capacities are developed.
The national government got this idea from Brazil where participative budgeting has given its government and that of other countries more opportunities to grow.
“If the periphery is strong, then, the national government is strong,” Sec. Abad was then quoted as saying, clearly giving our local chief executives a push.
Pres. Aquino wants our provinces and regions to grow with the national government so that more growth could be seen from the ground.
Using BuB could also counter-act patronage politics where dependency hampers the growth of our communities and local governments.
BuB has already been proven in that according to the World Economic Forum, the country’s economy has jumped to 33%, the fastest in the world.
In 2013, we also experienced a 3% growth and if this trend continues, then, the Philippine economy would be much, much better by 2016 and this would mean freeing a lot of funds which could be used for further development.
In six year’s time, there is a great possibility that poverty in the country could be lowered to six low digits.
The national government has seen a lot of countries currently using BuB and has observed that this method has produced very strong and productive communities. (JLV/PGBh/EDCom)