Cebu News

DILG, DBM conduct budgeting program

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) launched yesterday in Cebu the Support and Assistance Fund to Participatory Budgeting (SAFPB) Program.

The SAFPB Program is a groundbreaking initiative aimed at strengthening the partnership and collaboration between local government units (LGUs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in delivering basic services through the implementation of a participatory approach to governance.

The program is designed to help improve water supply and sanitation through the construction, expansion, and upgrading of water supply system projects identified through local participatory budgeting process.

DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos, Jr. said that 75 municipalities across the Philippines will benefit from the program in its pilot implementation.

Of the 75 municipalities, Abalos disclosed that seven are in Central Visayas, including the municipality of Tudela in Camotes Island.

Abalos said that each LGU beneficiary will receive P13.33 million for the construction of their proposed water supply and sanitation projects.

Further, DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman in a press conference said that the budget shall only be used for the construction of the said projects.

The program supports the Open Government Partnership (OGP), which was recently institutionalized by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. through Executive Order No. 31 dated June 20, 2023.

For the fiscal year (FY) 2024, the Program received a P1 billion budget allocation under the FY 2024 General Appropriations Act (GAA) or Republic Act No. 11975.

According to DILG, it is set to focus on the development and implementation of water supply and sanitation local infrastructure projects, further supporting the achievement of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SD) No. 6 and the Philippine Water Supply and Sanitation Master Plan (PWSSMP).

The program shall contribute in accelerating the access to safely-managed and resilient water supply and sanitation services of identified municipalities.

These focused municipalities are determined based on the following criteria: (a) municipalities that belong to the 4th-6th income classes based on Department of Finance Order No. 23 08 dated July 29, 2008, as updated on April 27, 2016, and/or with established LGU-managed water utility and project ready (with Municipal Water Supply Sanitation and Hygiene Master Plan duly endorsed by accredited CSO and adopted by the LGU, and with identified feasible water sources.

Pangandaman in her speech said that under the leadership of President Marcos, they have created a space for the promotion of such participation through the signing of Executive Order No. 31, which institutionalizes the Philippine Open Government Partnership or PH-OGP.

“I am proud to say that as Chair of the PH-OGP Steering Committee, we have been fulfilling our OGP commitments. With the institutionalization of PH-OGP, we have made great strides toward developing trust between governments and our citizens to improve and deliver development outcomes. And now, we are taking another crucial step towards achieving our goal through the program launching of the Support and Assistance Fund to Participatory Budgeting,” she said.

To achieve this objective, Pangandaman said the P1 billion allocation under the FY 2024 GAA accelerates access to safely managed and resilient water and sanitation services in lagging municipalities nationwide, leaving no one behind in the Bagong Pilipinas campaign.

“We believe that ensuring sustainable water supply and sanitation services in local government units is key to Philippine development, human development, public health, and poverty reduction,” she said.

This program, she added, shall contribute to the full attainment of the goal of having empowered and responsible LGUs. —/ATO (FREEMAN)

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