MANILA, Philippines–Town mayors have come out in defense of the grassroots participatory budgeting process (GPBP), describing the new budget strategy as transparent and output-oriented, and an effective way to cut red tape to prevent wastage of public funds.
Mayor Jess Burahan, secretary-general of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), said the GPBP, previously known as Bottom-Up-Budgeting (BUB), originates from the actual needs of the people, thereby insuring that funds are spent wisely for priority projects.
In a press statement, he said public expenditures under the GPBP call for fiscal discipline, effective allocation of resources to solve underdevelopment and attainment of desired outcomes with the active participation of civil society and the people in the community.
Burahan said local chief executives consider the GPBP as the most democratic experience in allocating public funds, pointing out that development projects proposed by local government units in consultation with the people are being funded without any consideration at all to political affiliations.
He said the P20.9-billion outlay allocated for the GPBP will spell the big difference in accelerating economic development especially in the municipalities where at least every municipal government is provided with a P15-million budget for poverty reduction projects.
“The projects are identified by the people themselves, who are also active in monitoring their implementation. This is the most transparent and most accountable system ever introduced to stimulate economic growth in our municipalities,” said Burahan.
LMP spokesman Mayor Manuel Fortes of Barcelona, Sorsogon, said the league will make representations with the national government to download directly to LGUs some of the funds under the GPBP to empower the local governments in the implementation of the projects that are labor-intensive to provide work for their constituents.
He said the pilot implementation of the GPBP showed a lot of promise as incidence of poverty in areas where the nationally funded projects were implemented has been greatly reduced, while the actual and urgent needs of the people were directly addressed.
The original article is published at Philippine Daily Inquirer on August 7, 2014.