On top of IRA: Bukidnon LGUs to get P317.5 M for anti-poverty programs

VALENCIA CITY – Bukidnon’s two cities and 17 of its 20 towns are getting a total of P317.5  million from national government agencies for anti-poverty programs in 2013, according to figures from the National Anti-Poverty Commission.

The 19 LGUs belong to the 609 all over the country identified as priority LGUs where the government is helping the poorest of the poor households, Anti Poverty Undersecretary Marie Labajo told this reporter Monday.

The municipalities of Libona, Sumilao, and Dangcagan were not included in the 609 LGUs for 2013 but Labajo said they will possibly be included in the 2014 cycle. Labajo cited that the LGUs were selected from a set of criteria including size of poorest of the poor households and population density based on a 2006 National Statistical Coordination Board Survey.
In Bukidnon, Valencia City is expected to get the highest budget of P37.8 million followed by Quezon town and Malaybalay City with P26.9 million each.

About 595 LGUs out of 609 identified as focus areas, which will divide a total of P9 billion, have submitted their Local Poverty Reduction Action Plan (LPRAP) to NAPC for 2013, Labajo added.

The P9-billion fund is taken from 10 percent of the budget for programs and projects of a total of 10 national government agencies including the departments of Agriculture, Education, and Health.

The P317.5 million budget is on top of the internal revenue allotment and will become part of the national expenditure program for the General Appropriations Act in 2013 to be submitted by Malacañang to Congress subject of the budget hearing starting in September.
Labajo assured in a press conference Tuesday that even if the budget goes through the usual scrutiny they are confident it will pass.

Labajo said most of the proposed projects are into farm to market roads and support services for agrarian reform communities. She noted that not any of the LGUs proposed a project on intervention to address the problem of child delinquents.

“Although it might just be because of lack of consciousness of the problem,” the official, who once worked with child care providers, admitted.

The NAPC’s BUB (bottom up budgeting) changes the process of planning to spend the budget of national government agencies, Labajo said.

The LGUs now have a share of national wealth allocated to national government agencies.

But Labajo noted that the change in process makes sure that civil society organizations have greater role in crafting the LPRAP.

Labajo, who is in town to grace a four-day capability building training among representatives from CSOs said the LGUs have no choice but partner with CSOs to avail of additional funds.

The LGUs could not avail of the fund if they were unable to obtain signature of representatives from CSOs.

 

The Department of Budget and Management earlier reported that the Aquino administration earmarked P9.02 billion in funds for the agency-wide implementation of priority poverty reduction projects through the bottom-up budgeting approach.

 

The allocated funds were identified in a Joint Memorandum Circular by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC).

 

The circular outlined policy guidelines and procedures for implementing bottom-up budgeting in the 2013 budget preparations.

 

“The Administration is making the most of this landmark opportunity to create a budget that accounts for the needs of our poorest communities. The P9.02 billion for critical antipoverty projects under the bottom-up budgeting scheme will allow government agencies to give greater focus to projects that prioritize the poor,” Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad was quoted in the report.

 

According to Abad, participating agencies are required to prioritize key poverty reduction programs in targeted cities and municipalities when allocating the department’s budget ceilings. At least 10 percent of budgets for programs and projects under an agency shall be set aside for funding these projects.

 

“An agency’s budget proposal should include allocations for the focus cities and municipalities in their programs and previous lump sum allocations. Otherwise, the DBM will revise the agency’s budget proposal as necessary so that the resulting proposal is properly aligned with the bottom-up approach,” Abad said in the report. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News)