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BuB to undergo strict guidelines – Abad

Michael Vencynth H. Braga/NSA (The Freeman) - February 18, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad assured that strict guidelines and standards will be observed under the newly launched “Barangay Bottom-up Budgeting (BuB).”

This as barangay captains in the province are gearing up for the implementation of the program by next year.

A consultation on BuB with the barangay captains was held yesterday at the Cebu Grand Hotel and was attended by Abad. Members of the media who came in batches, however, were not allowed to cover the conference and were told that it was a closed-door activity.

In an interview with him at the Capitol, Abad said barangay officials should undergo capability trainings on the implementation of their identified projects under BuB, as well as preparation of project proposals and accountability reports, to attain a glitch-free execution of the project.

Recipient barangays will also have to pass through certain qualifications such as earning good governance recognition and being capacitated on basic public financial management system, he added.

“Because what we want to avoid is that when they undergo audit from COA, they might not pass. And you know if you have unliquidated cash advances, it stops you from getting a new round of funding,” he explained.

“We want to make sure they (barangays) comply with the rules. We are strict with the standards so that those can qualify would really undertake the projects, including reporting, both financial and physical,” he said.

The BuB, a reform program pioneered by the Aquino Administration, currently covers cities and municipalities in the country, but it will be expanded to the barangay level next year.

Under the program, a subsidy amounting P1 million for projects identified by the Barangay Development Council will be downloaded directly to the barangays. There are more than 42,000 barangays nationwide.

Abad, however, said only 30 percent or at least 12,600 of the total barangays will be part of the pioneering batch which will receive the funding next year; others will be included in the succeeding batches.

He said the barangays to compose the first batch will be identified by their respective municipal or city governments.

“It (identification process) will not involve us because we do not know these barangays. The local community knows them better,” he explained.

Dispelling insinuations that the selection might be tainted with politics, Abad said guidelines will also be laid down in the process.

“We are also careful that the selection process of which barangay and what project to implement is not distorted by partisanship, otherwise, the credibility of the reform gets diminished,” he added.

The DBM already issued a memorandum enjoining barangays to present their proposed priority projects for BUB funding during their barangay assembly in March.

Abad met Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III at the latter’s office yesterday. He was joined by Sec. Mel Senen Sarmiento of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and Sec. Rogelio Singson of the Department of Public Works and Highways.

In a separate interview, Sarmiento said the BuB empowers local governments and allows them to participate in the national budget formulation and identification of projects that suit their needs.

“Ang micro problems sa barangay ma-address sa national government kay ang munisipyo bisan ganahan nila pondohan ang barangay pero limitado ra pod ilang mga pondo,” he told reporters.

He said barangays which have experience in the implementation of poverty-reduction programs like the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development will be prioritized in the first batch of the Barangay BuB.

For this year, the national government set aside P24.7 billion for 14,325 local poverty reduction projects across the country. This year’s budget got a significant boost from P8 billion in 2013 for projects identified in 595 cities and municipalities.  (FREEMAN)

 

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