Central Visayas gets P1.83B for BUB projects

cebu beautiful beaches
ALOGUINSAN’S HIDDEN BEACH. Hidden behind thick trees, this pristine beach is only one among southern Cebu’s beautiful beaches. Photo courtesy of Sheilamei Abellanoza and Gian Carlo Jubela
Of the P24.7-billion allocation from 2016 national budget, Cebu gets P1 billion from the total BUB share

MANILA, Philippines (Feb. 19, 2016) — Are you from Central Visayas?

In a statement released by the Department of Budget and Management Thursday, February 18, Central Visayas will be enjoying P1.83 billion (US$38.49 million) in Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) funds.

Of the P1.83 billion allotted to Region VII for 844 projects in the 2016 national budget, vote-rich province and economic center Cebu will get the lion’s share of Central Visayas’ allocation for BUB implementation. The province will get P1 billion (US$2103 million) for 426 projects, half of what’s accepted for the region.

Region VII is composed of 3 provinces – Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor. Cebu alone has 3 highly urbanized cities: Cebu City, Mandaue City, and Lapu-Lapu City.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, who is currently in Cebu for barangay BUB consultations, said that the Queen City of the South will soon benefit from a rapid community-based monitoring system (CBMS), a big-ticket BUB project amounting to P19.2 million (US$403,870).

CBMS is an organized process of data collection and processing at the local level, with the data acquired being used in local planning, program implementation and impact monitoring.

“Projects like this will help LGUs make informed decisions and draft policies on the programs they need,” Abad said.

“Bottom-up Budgeting” is a program under the Aquino administration where local groups, usually led by civil society organizations, consult with the community and pick from a list of projects to implement. These projects are funded from the national budget.

For this year, the national government increased allocation to P24.7 billion (US$519.52 million) from the 2016 national budget set to service 14,325 BUB projects from 1,514 cities and municipalities.

Big-ticket projects

Though Cebu received majority of the Central Visayas BUB allocation, Bohol will be implementing 4 of the 5 big-ticket projects in the region.

The following municipalities will be implementing big-ticket projects that cost P15 million (US$315,500) each:

  • Road construction from Barangay Almaria to Barangay Katipunan, Tanod boundary and Lundag in Anda, Bohol.
  • Installation of pipes and development of water works in Loboc, Bohol.
  • Construction of evacuation facility in Pilar, Bohol.
  • Construction of a core local road in Sierra Bullones, Bohol.

For Abad, the fact that these LGUs are going through the process – in close collaboration with civil society organizations and the communities they represent – is already a “huge gain.”

“If we’re serious about the pursuit of empowerment and genuine autonomy of these local governments, we need to give them the time they need,” the budget chief said.

Since 2013, Central Visayas has received a total of P5.29 billion (US$111.26 million) in BUB funds for 3,396 projects with Cebu getting more than half of the funds at P3.05 billion for 1,827 projects.

According to OpenBUB portal, 1086 projects by Region VII have since been completed, while 678 are ongoing. 1,100 projects are already in the pipeline, while 1,161 projects are still under “proposed” status.

From last year’s allocation of P20.9 billion (US$439.58 million), a total of 42,221 projects nationwide have been funded, of which only 16,576 projects have been completed as of the end of 2015.

BUB barangay consultations

Preparatory activities for the expansion of BUB to barangays are already being conducted and will last until the end of 2016.

The BUB program covers local governments down to the municipal level only. According to the budget chief, this will be expanded in 2017 to include barangays nationwide.

Dubbed “BUB Barangay”, pilot implementation will provide a subsidy of P1 million (US$21,033) to each barangay and will aid the LGUs in better formulating poverty reduction action plans and monitoring the delivery of basic services.

The first 14,000 barangays will receive funding from the national government. Full implementation is slated to start from 2018 to 2019.

Each year, the 14,000 barangays will be receiving funding until all barangays are covered by the program.

“While the processes we’re introducing are taking some time to take root, we’re confident they’ll make a difference at the grassroots level,” Abad said.

The implementation of the expanded BUB program will go past the term of the Aquino administration, including Abad. Aquino will be president only until June 2016.

  by Aika Rey | Rappler.com