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Bloated budgets means less devolution?

Bloated budgets means less devolution?

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Bloated budgets means less devolution?

Topic |  
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jayThe three government departments which have been devolved to the local government units have burgeoning budget allocations in the national government’s annual appropriations law.

This steady bloating of the budgetary allocations of devolved agencies like the Department of Agriculture, Department of Health  and Department of Social Welfare indicate that the national government still wields influence in running the affairs of the said agencies, contrary to what the local government code has envisioned.

In 1991 the devolved Departments of Agriculture, Health and Social Welfare  each had a budget of only  P7.7-Billion.

This year the budget for the Department of Agriculture is already P86.10-Billion.

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This year the budget for the Department of Health is already P102.18-Billion

This year the budget for the Department of Social Welfare is already P109-Billion.

Notwithstanding the devolution of those powers, personnel, and funds, the fact is that the central government still retains huge bureaucracies that execute government policies and programs even of the departments that had already been devolved to the LGUs.

Taking advantage of its constitutional power to prepare and enact the National Appropriations Act, the national government defines how its programs and policies are to be implemented and funded all over the land.

And in the process, it gives little regard, if at all, to the fact that the concerns of three departments: agriculture, health and social welfare were taken away from its primary responsibility, and are now reposed on the shoulders of the officials of local governments throughout the land.

“By acting in the manner above described, the national government makes a mockery of the devolution that was adopted to further democratize government powers by compelling the national government to share some of its powers with the LGUs.

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While there is nothing inherently abhorrent about the burgeoning budgets of the three departments, valid objections may be raised regarding the national government’s treatment of the powers, personnel and funds of the devolved departments. (By Atty. Jay I. Dejaresco)

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