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CSOs hail reforms in BuB implementation

MANILA, Philippines – Representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs) participating in the Bottom-up Budgeting (BuB) Summit in Cebu lauded the program’s success in giving communities a say on how public funds may be used to address local needs.
The summit is being held to highlight and track the progress of the BuB, the government’s participatory planning and budgeting program. The program has an allocation of P20.9 billion in this year’s budget to support the implementation of 14,300 projects in 1,590 municipalities and cities nationwide.
In a statement, the CSOs said several measures have been undertaken to improve the implementation of BuB. These include safeguarding the autonomy in the selection of CSO representatives in the local poverty reduction action teams (LPRATs) and the provincial focal persons (PFPs) in the regional poverty reduction action teams (RPRATs). The measures also ensure parity between government and CSO representatives, as well as affirmative action measures for women, indigenous peoples’ representation and Parent-Leaders of Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program beneficiaries.
Another measure which further improved the program is the the use of quantitative and qualitative data to back up the local poverty reduction action plans (LPRAPs), such as the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTSPR) and Community-Based Management System (CBMS) and the capacity-building of third-party monitors. This measure will help assess the implementation of the projects.
However, the CSO statement said BuB implementation needs further improvement for the program to come close to genuine participatory governance in action. It noted the slow implementation of some programs due to bureaucratic requirements.
In reference to the statement, Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said he is especially proud of the sense of ownership of the CSOs, and their appreciation for what participatory budgeting can do.
“They know what it can do to change how and where public funds are used to improve the delivery of basic social services. And this gives us hope that we can take this forward,” Abad said.
“BuB is a powerful tool in harnessing community participation in governance. All these projects that have so far been implemented under the BuB represent the progress we have made so far in working towards participatory governance in action. We still have a long way to go to but we have made significant steps. BuB has given citizens a venue to propose solutions to actual community problems, and an opportunity to work together with the government in setting priorities for how public funds can be used to improve the community,” he added.
The CSO statement also called for the following: inclusion of other agencies providing service delivery programs and projects to the poor, particularly the National Housing Authority (NHA) and Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC); broadening participation of CSOs in the barangay level and providing employment opportunities by hiring local residents in the project sites; and increasing the budget cap per LGU to accommodate programs and projects requiring bigger amounts of budget outlay. Under the program, each city/municipality is provided with a budget cap, which is the maximum amount of projects they can propose for national government financing. This is based on the number of poor residents in the area.
The Cebu Summit, the fourth leg in a nationwide series, focused on the progress of the National Government’s participatory planning and budgeting process involving local government units (LGUs), national government agencies (NGAs), CSOs, and the basic sector via the BuB program. The summit reported on the status of the P19.98-billion worth of BuB projects in the Visayas, ranging from those projects first implemented in 2013 to those proposed for 2016.
The summit will run up to today at the Montebello Villa Hotel in Cebu, with some 300 to 500 participants. Preceded by other BuB summits recently held in Manila, Subic, and Davao, the Cebu Summit had been convened by the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC). It is supported by the departments of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Budget and Management (DBM), Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
Under the 2015 budget, Visayas received a total of P5.57 billion for 3,634 projects. For 2016, a total of P6.71 billion is proposed to support the implementation of 3,366 projects. (DBM)
The following is a breakdown of the amount and projects allocated to each province, from 2013 to 2016:


Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.