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FEATURE: Gov’t budgeting scheme gives decision-making power to ordinary folks

“A relief for the community. An evidence that our government listens to the needs of its people, ang boss [their bosses].”

This is how Annie Marcos, a daycare teacher, describes the newly constructed daycare center in Sitio Kimondo, Lagandang, Sultan Kudarat that was constructed under the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (GPB).

“We have been given voice to decide on our community’s development,” she adds saying she and her students no longer have to transfer from once open space to another just to conduct classes.
GPB, formerly known as Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB), is an approach in formulating budget proposal of national government agencies, taking into consideration the development needs of poor municipalities as identified in their respective Local Poverty Reduction Action Plan (LPRAP) formulated with strong participation of local government units (LGUs), civil society organizations, and peoples organizations.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman explained that the GPB deviates from the traditional budgeting process wherein government officials decide on what projects should be implemented in the grassroots level.

“For this scheme, ordinary folks have a say on what projects to propose for their own development which will then be included in the budget of implementing national agencies,” Sec. Soliman said.

Under the GPB, DSWD implements sustainable livelihood, small-scale infrastructures, and protective services for the marginalized sector.

In 2013, DSWD got P938.6 million for the implementation of 798 projects. To date, 381 have been completed and the rest are on-going.

For 2014, DSWD’s budget is approximately P3 billion for the implementation of 3,422 projects.

Improved lives

As one of the implementing agencies, DSWD has noted that funded GPB projects have helped improved lives of beneficiaries.

In the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), for instance, GPBP funded the organic farming project of the town of Malibcong in Abra.

According to Malibcong Mayor Benido Bacuyag, the townsfolk proposed for the acquisition of machine shredder for their organic farming which is seen to address crop production shortage in the municipality.

“We are also looking forward to produce more, so as not only to provide for the needs of the municipality but also to supply the nearby areas,” Mayor Bacuyag said.

In Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, DSWD has turned over four newly-constructed, including the one in Sitio Kimondo, and one refurbished day care centers.

“These projects were identified priority needs of the LGU with the help of grassroots organizations in the community, submitted to the agency for funding,” DSWD Project Coodinator Emerita Dizon said.

In San Pascual, Masbate, DSWD-Field Office V has turned over 71 pieces of assistive devices such as quad canes, wheelchairs, and crutches to persons with disabilities (PWDs).

According to Mayor Zacarina Lazaro, this provision of assistive devices is the first of its kind. She said that this project will provide an opportunity for the PWD sector to be able to be integrated in the society, especially those who have not been able to go out of their house because of the problem in mobility.

The LGU plans to provide this sector with work training and employment. This is to enable them to realize their aspiration and become assets to their families and communities.

Requirements

To be able to avail of projects under the GPB, LGUs must submit the following: project proposal, work and financial plan, terms of reference, detailed estimates, and deeds of donation or certificate of land availability for infrastructure projects.#

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