Bottom-UP Budgeting, the government program that institutionalized people’s participation in the budget process, will be expanded next year to cover 42,036 barangays nationwide, the Department of Budget and Management said on Thursday.
The Barangay BuB will provide a subsidy of P1 million to each barangay to be used for the implementation of two projects they have identified, DBM Secretary Florencio Abad said.
The program is expected to help barangays formulate poverty reduction plans and monitor the delivery of basic services at the grassroots.
Abad said that while all barangays are beneficiaries of the program, implementation shall be made in batches.
“The first 12,000 barangays will receive funding from the national government in 2017,” Abad said.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government has started national consultations with barangay heads to inform them of the rationale, objectives, and mechanics of the Barangay BuB.
Abad said this will be followed by capacity building sessions and project preparation for the first batch of barangays that will pioneer BuB.
DILG Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento said the expansion of the BuB was the result of the clamor of various associations of barangay councils, civil society organizations, and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines.
The ULAP National Executive Board passed a resolution to institutionalize BuB at the barangay level and adopted the recommendation from the leagues for the implementing guidelines of the BuB.
“We are bringing BuB down to the grassroots level to ensure that the need for services and facilities of barangays are met. Also, by enabling barangays to implement projects which they have identified and prioritized through a process of citizen participation in planning and budgeting, we hope to improve governance at the barangay level,” Sarmiento said.
The Liga ng mga Barangay ng Pilipinas—through its national president, lawyer Edmund Abesamis—expressed support for the program, calling the Barangay BuB “the highlight of the national government’s recognition of the role of barangays in governance.”
“The Barangay Bottom-Up Budgeting effectively provides life and meaning to the recognition of barangays as frontliners in governance,” Abesamis said.
To participate in the program, each barangay league’s city and municipal president must orient all punong barangays within their area of jurisdiction on the Barangay BuB not later than Jan. 31, 2016, according to the DBM.
Afterwards, every punong barangay must convene a Barangay Development Council or orientation, conduct a planning workshop with the BDC, and formulate a list of priority projects for submission to the Development Academy of the Philippines, which will develop a criteria for the ranking and selection of barangays.
The Ugnayan ng Barangay at Simbahan—a partnership of local Catholic churches, the LBP, and the DILG for the observance of good governance principles at the community level—will monitor the proper implementation of the projects.
At least 1,590 local government units have participated in the BuB program since it was implemented in 2013.
There was a total of 42,221 BuB projects reported in the Open BuB Portal.
Of this number, 13,712 projects have been completed as of December 1, 2015 (exclusive of dropped projects that were replaced, split or merged).
For this year, 14,325 local poverty reduction projects have been allocated P24.7 billion. This is an increase from P8 billion in 2013 for projects identified in 595 cities and municipalities.
BuB has been recognized as one of five Best Practices in Fiscal Transparency from around the world during the Open Government Partnership (OGP) summit in Mexico City last November. In their declaration, GIFT noted that “in 2015, 1,514 cities and municipalities (92 percent of all in the country) had joined the program and it has so much demand it would be difficult for future governments to discontinue.”
The Philippines was also granted the Gold Open Government Award for BuB in the inaugural OGP Awards at the United Nations Head Quarters in New York City in September 2014.
The country was recognized for its outstanding efforts to deepen citizen engagement in the budget process, one of the three gold awards given out to recognize innovative and citizen-driven initiatives in designing and implementing public policy.
BuB is credited with one of the reforms that have helped improve the country’s standing in global benchmarks of budget transparency. For example, the International Monetary Fund declared the Philippines exhibits good and advanced practices in several areas of its new Fiscal Transparency Code.