MANILA — Citizens, through their elected local government units, should be able participate in the national budgetary process to ensure that public funds go to programs and projects that benefit them and their community, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said Thursday after filing a measure to institutionalize grassroots participatory budgeting.
“Mahalagang kabilang ang mga mamamayang Pilipino sa pagpapasya tungkol sa usapin ng budget dahil apektado ang lahat. Sila ang mas nakakaalam at nakakaintindi sa kanilang mga pangangailangan — isang importanteng aspeto kung nais nating masugpo ang kahirapan (Budgetary concerns and deliberations must be inclusive because it will affect all Filipinos. They are the ones who have a deeper understanding on what is needed if we want to not wipe out poverty),” Pangilinan said.
The Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Act of 2016 aims to institutionalize grassroots participatory budgeting in the planning and identification of programs and projects under the Local Poverty Reduction Action Plan (LPRAP) and Local Development Action Plan (LDAP) to be funded by the annual general appropriations act.
“Sisiguraduhin nating kabilang ang mga civil society organizations (CSO) sa pagbuo ng mga programang angkop sa pangangailangan ng komunidad, ayon sa plano ng lokal na pamahalaan. Malaki rin ang kanilang magiging papel sa pagbantay kung ang mga programang ito ay nagiging epektibo (We will ensure that CSOs are active in crafting and identifying the programs that will benefit the community, based on the anti-poverty plans of the local government. They will also be pivotal in monitoring the effectiveness of the programs),” Pangilinan said.
A Local Poverty Reduction Action Team (LPRAT) and a Local Development Action Team (LDAT) will be formed to spearhead the formulation and monitoring of the poverty reduction and development programs. It will be composed of LGU officials and CSO representatives — with at least 30 percent women representatives.
Regional Poverty Reduction Action Teams (RPRAT) and Regional Development Action Teams (RDAT), headed by the regional directors for the Departments of Interior and Local Government and Budget and Management, will provide support to the LGUs and monitor the projects.
The Bottom-up Budgeting exercise, launched in 2012 as part of then-President Benigno Aquino III’s reform initiatives, aims to make the national budget more responsive, and to empower citizens by encouraging local governments to implement reforms catered to the needs of the community.
The Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Act is part of Pangilinan’s priority bills as he focuses on pro-farmer, pro-fisher, and anti-poverty measures.