MANILA, Philippines — The budget department announced in a statement that funding for 2017 Bottom-up Budgeting (BUB) proposed projects totals P35 billion ($759.09 million).
The proposed amount is higher by P10.3 billion ($223.39 million) from this year's allocation of P24.7 billion ($535.91 million).
“Bottom-up budgeting” is a program under the Aquino administration that allows local groups, usually led by civic society organizations, to consult with communities and pick from a list of projects to implement.
Currently, the national government funds about 14,325 projects from 1,514 cities and municipalities.
Budget secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad earlier said that increasing fiscal transfers to local governments is "vital in sustaining growth momentum." (READ: Higher budget for provincial roads, infrastructure in 2017 – Abad)
According to the budget chief, the government is shifting towards performance-based direct download of funds to local government units (LGU).
“For 2017, funding for BuB programs—specifically those that LGUs can implement—will be released directly to local governments. We are moving from agency-implemented BuB projects to more performance-based direct downloads to LGUs," said Abad.
In previous years, BUB funding was released only to national government agencies. Current guidelines now allow release of funds to LGUs through the Local Government Support Fund apart from those implemented by agencies.
According to Abad, fund release will depend on the performance of LGUs.
These requirements include compliance with the Good Financial Housekeeping component of the Seal of Good Local Governance, and the implementation of Public Financial Management improvement measures.
At present, only P11.7 billion ($253.87 million) out of the P24.7 billion ($535.91 million) is downloaded directly to LGUs.
For 2017, more than half of the proposed funding, or some P19.7 billion ($427.38 million), will be downloaded to "beneficiary" LGUs.
The budget department explained that these are cities and municipalities that have complied with good governance standards.
“Altogether, our goals are three-fold: to include citizens in local budgeting, to strengthen LGU capacity and accountability, and to make the budget process work for the benefit of our communities,” Abad said.
This year, the budget department gave Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat P5 million ($108,500) as an incentive for good performance.
LGUs that show strong track record in implementing BUB projects are granted a performance incentive of P5 million which LGUs can use for additional anti-poverty projects.
To qualify, a local government must have completed at least 80% of the previous year's BUB projects and at least 50% of current year's projects by September 30.
The computation covers projects that are implemented by the LGUs only. Those dropped and implemented by national government agencies are not included.
Tacurong City Mayor Lina Montilla said in the statement that the program encouraged local governments to improve governance.
“It draws ordinary citizens into the local development planning process. And because communities now have a hand in crafting the local budget, they’re already enjoying better access to basic local government services,” the mayor said.
As of February 10, Tacurong City has already completed 18 of 27 projects. The remaining community initiatives are either being implemented or are already pipelined. – Rappler.com