BAGUIO CITY – “The national administration, its agencies and its legislative branches should respect and uphold the participation of its citizens in local governance and budgeting,” the BUB Beyond 2016 Caucus (BBC2016), a group advocating for the bottom-up approach through people’s participation in the budgeting process, declared.
The BBC2016 further claims that “the policies and guidelines for the implementation of Assistance to the Disadvantaged Municipalities (ADM) Program, as indicated in the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC No.01) released by Department of Budget Management and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) last month, have taken us a hundred steps backward from what our country has achieved in terms of citizens participation in local governance and budgeting from the Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) Program.”
From cuttingdown the budget allocation of local government units to reducing the number of participating local government units, the ADM Program also limits the types of projects to five, namely: Water System Projects, Evacuation Facility, Local Access Roads, Small Water Impounding, and Sanitation Facilities. This is far from the wide array of programs allowed during the years of implementation of BUB since 2012.
Furthermore, the advocates are much concerned with the limited citizen participation in the ADM policies and guidelines which diminish the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) to only concur a mayor’s project proposal. The DILG, through the Municipal Local Government Operations Officer (MLGOO) only needs to validate if the CSO is duly accredited and there is no mention of CSO assemblies and planning workshops which are important processes under the BUB.
Having mentioned these issues, BBC2016 is appealing to the current administration through the House of Representatives to uphold citizen participation in local governance and budgeting by amending the ADM policy and guidelines towards providing a wider space for the participation of CSOs, specifically adding consultative mechanisms like how it was done in the former BUB Program.
Moreover, the call for BUB beyond 2016 remains asthe ADM needs a lot of improvements to be called an improved version of BUB.
The institutionalization of the BUB process is still in order.
BBC2016 is an independent collective of advocates largely from CALABARZON (Region IV-A) for citizen participation in local governance and budgeting and actively campaigning for the institutionalization of the bottom-up budgeting process.
By Cynthia Esquillo