Sally Fitzgibbons Foundation

Beginning the Academic Essay

In the Philippines, not every Local Government Unit (LGUs) can implement different programs needed by their constituents because of the lack of sufficient funds or budget; especially those belong to the lower class and Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) dependent municipality in many provinces. Because of this, the national government tries to find ways on how to help different LGUs in the country by introducing new system with regards to funds and budgeting. During President Benigno Simeon Aquino, III administration, one of his main goals along with its commitment in one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) was to reduce poverty. As cited under the Philippine Development Plan for 2011-2016, the country aimed to reduce the poverty incidence rate from 26.5 % in 2009 to 16.6% by 2015. In line with this, President Aquino’s administration introduced and implemented a new budgeting approach called BuB or Bottom-Up Budgeting or also known as Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (GPB). It is a “process that enable local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and grassroots communities to engage in the national budget process through the Local Government Units (LGUs)” (Citizen’s Participation in the Budget Process, n.d.), leading by principles of convergence, participation, and empowerment. This budget scheme was introduced in the year 2012 through a Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, dated March 8, 2012 to be piloted during the proposed budget preparation for fiscal year 2013. As per National Budget Memorandum No. 115, dated December 28, 2012, BuB will be used in line with the goal to reduce the poverty, the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster (HDPRC) will continue to consider development needs of poor/focus cities and municipalities as identified in their own Local Poverty Reduction Action Plans (LPRAP) to be formulate with the strong participation of basic sector organizations and other Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). This new budgeting approach aims to empower civil society organizations (CSOs) including People’s Organizations (POs), to engage and make the government more responsive to the people’s needs, while promoting a “meaningful devolution” to the local government for service delivery. (Philippines: Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) Program Qualitative Outcome Assessment, 2016).
And since this system is open to all LGU’s in the country regardless of its income class, the City of Calamba, a first class component city, is one of the recipients of the BuB program. The City of Calamba, located only 54 kilometers away from Metro Manila, an industrial metropolis strategically located in the south composing of 454,486 inhabitants with 123,071 households and the fourth most populous city in the CALABARZON as per 2015 Census of Population by the Philippines Statistics Authority. The City, with a total land area of 14,480 hectares is a fast growing first class city composing of 54 barangays, 34 urbans and 17 rurals. And since the city is the premier industrial hub outside of Metro Manila, a haven for industries, with the influx of migrants and population growing to 492,868, projected population for 2018 with a growth rate of 3%, the bulk of the budget of the city is allocated for its basic services. Though the city can afford and allocate funds needed to provide its services, still, additional assistance with regards to funds are most welcome. The City of Calamba, through its City Government, in line with the government’s aim of transparency and insertion on how public finances are made, BuB’s planning and implementation for different programs and projects were carefully made to make sure that all of this will be beneficiary for its constituents.
Since this tool will involved the CSO’s that will put forward their desired programs and coordinate the City Government, does it really provide and correspond to their needs as sectors unrepresented and the poor?, at what extent do they really involved in this program? At the end of this study, this paper aims to show different created programs achieved by this BuB’s approach and to explain if it has been an effective budgeting tool specifically to the LGU’s city level income class like the City of Calamba. It will also describe what are the challenges experienced not only by the CSOs but also by the City Government through its overall process. Although every new introduced system will experience difficulty and struggles, as new policies, guidelines will be implemented, room for improvement is always present.

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