Eastern Visayas gets largest chunk of bottom-up budget pie

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The largest share of the P24.7-billion Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) funds for 2016 will go to Eastern Visayas, the country's poorest region, and a significant portion of this will go to disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) projects.

BUB funds worth P2.25 billion will go to the 6-province region, which is still recovering from the effects of 2013's Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said on Sunday, March 27.

Of the P2.25 billion, DRRM projects will receive P736 million, broken down as follows:

A total of 1,105 projects across the region will get funding under BUB, the DBM said. Of this, 80 will be the construction and upgrading of evacuation facilities; 68 for flood control projects; and 48 for acquisition of rescue equipment and vehicles.

This will include 10 evacuation facilities worth P15 million each, to be located in these towns:

"Communities in Eastern Visayas have identified and prioritized several DRRM projects to be supported through BUB," Budget Secretary Florencio Abad was quoted as saying. "These projects include the construction of evacuation facilities and flood control, as well as the purchase of rescue equipment, which will help the communities deal with disasters better."

Eastern Visayas, home to 4.1 million Filipinos, has a poverty level of 54.9%, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

It is composed of the provinces of Leyte, Southern Leyte, Samar, Eastern Samar, Norther Samar, and Biliran.

The DBM said that at least 1,590 local government units across the country have participated in the BUB, one of the government's major budget programs.

Under the BUB, communities, upon consultation with citizens and civil society organizations, choose from a list of projects to implement, and the projects are funded from the national budget.

BUB programs cover projects at the municipal level, and will include barangays by 2017.

A total of 42,221 BUB projects are currently in the Open BUB Portal, an online database of the projects implemented under the said scheme.

However, the BUB isn't without controversy, with critics arguing it is being used by the administration to sway local executives and communities into supporting the ruling party's bets in the coming May 9 national and local elections.

Liberal Party bet Manuel Roxas, who hails from the Visayas, enjoys relative popularity in the region. In the latest The Standard-Laylo poll, 25% of voters preferred Roxas. – Rappler.com