Two years after Bottom-up Budgeting (BuB) was first implemented in the 2013 National Budget, the Aquino Administration plans to extend the program’s reach and ensure the sustainability of BuB-enabled gains, beginning with a two-day summit to assess and reaffirm the program’s progress.
Under the 2015 budget, the BuB covers 1,590 municipalities and cities across the country, and is amply supported with a budget of P20.9 billion. For 2016, the Administration is proposing a budget of P24.7 billion to support the implementation of more than 14,300 BuB projects nationwide.
“In 2013, we crafted a people-centric National Budget that was guided by needs identified at the grassroots level. BuB proved critical in accomplishing that. Through the program, ordinary citizens found a voice in the budget process. BuB made it possible for local governments to listen to their constituents, so that the resulting National Budget could respond to their most urgent needs,” Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said.
“Our challenge now is to fine-tune the existing program. BuB has allowed us to accomplish much in terms of citizen participation. But we can certainly improve it further. Doing that will require us to work with stakeholders and consolidate what we’ve learned in the past three years, so that we can intensify the program’s focus,” Abad said.
The BuB summit, held at the Crowne Plaza Manila in Ortigas, Quezon City this August 24-25, brought more than a thousand participants from civil society organizations (CSOs), national government agencies (NGAs), and local government units (LGUs). Convened by the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) Secretariat, the event 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 Development Authority (NEDA).
The summit will train the spotlight on improving the BuB planning process, as well as speeding up its implementation. More importantly, it will discuss how to enhance the partnership between LGUs and CSOs and boost local government capacity to implement BuB programs.
Stakeholders will also consider the appropriate way to communicate the goals of BuB to the public, in light of critics’ allegations that the program is being used by the Aquino Administration to their advantage in the upcoming 2016 polls.
“The BuB is meant to empower our grassroots communities and their respective local governments. That’s why we’ve made improvements to the program by allowing LGUs to directly implement projects instead of coursing them through the agencies. This also strengthens the link of accountability between our LGUs and their constituents,” the budget chief said.
The BuB approach was set up to help the Philippines attain its Millennium Development Goals of inclusive growth and poverty reduction, all while promoting good governance at the local level. This is done by increasing citizens’ access to local service delivery via a demand-driven budget planning process.
In 2013, 595 municipalities and cities took part under the BuB program with a budget of P8 billion. In 2014, the program was expanded to cover 1,225 municipalities/cities with a budget of P20 billion.
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