MANILA (Mabuhay) — Secretary Manuel Roxas II on Wednesday defended the alleged controversial item in the proposed P104.5 billion budget of the Department of Interior and Local Government for 2015.
At the hearing of the House committee on appropriations on the proposed DILG budget, Gabriela party-list representatives Luzviminda Ilagan inquired on the P20.9-billion allocated for DILG’s Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (GPB).
“The projects under this GPB were not specified in your proposed budget. The local governments who will be beneficiaries of this program can arbitrarily choose any project they want. [The funds] can be considered lump sum…,” Ilagan said.
But Roxas said the GPB – formerly known as the Bottom-Up Budgeting or BUB – aims to assist about 1,200 of the country’s poorest towns by giving them P15 million each for various projects identified by local executives through consultations with the basic sectors.
“We implement stringent policies in identifying the LGUs who will be beneficiaries,” Roxas said.
“We will be submitting to you the menu of projects proposed by these LGUs that Congress can scrutinize,” he added.
Under the GPB, local government executives are asked to come up with a menu or “wish list” of projects worth P15 million that they want to be funded by the Department of Budget and Management.
Also during the hearing, ACT party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio likened the un-itemized budget for the GBP to the administration’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), portions of which were declared by Supreme Court as unconstitutional.
Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon had alleged that the GBP may be used by the Liberal Party to finance its campaign for the 2016 elections.
“I can assure you that there is no political color for this program. The poorest of the poor, kahit saang political party pa sila nabibilang ay mabebenipisyohan dito,” Roxas said. (MNS)