P809 M for Cordillera projects-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Monday, April 28, 2014
SOME P809 million of the P20 billion national allocation for Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process (GPBP) projects servicing some 52 of 75 local governments will be granted to the Cordillera region this year.
GPBP projects are aimed to eradicate poverty in the country by empowering and building the capability of people’s organizations.
Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II dismissed issues the P20 billion allocation of the Aquino administration is part of his so-called pork barrel stressing the Department of the Interior and Local Government will not be involved in deciding projects to be initiated in the communities.
Roxas said the Participatory Budgeting Process was initiated in 2012, even before the abolition of the controversial pork barrel funds, with initial 600 towns and cities which piloted the projects.
Coverage of towns and cities was expanded with more than 1,000 local governments implementing the GPBP in 2013.
According to Roxas, the program will cover all 1,490 local governments in the country by 2015.
The secretary stressed majority, if not all, of GPBPs will cover “hard projects” including important infrastructure projects such as roads, irrigation and multipurpose buildings. These projects will be chosen by the community particularly people’s organizations.
The projects will no longer pass through bureaucratic processes which dilute the impact of these anti-poverty projects according to the cabinet official as President Benigno Aquino III stressed in his directive politicians or local government officials, from town mayors to district representatives, will have no hand in these projects except for the people who really want these projects to be prioritized.
The DILG will allocate some P15 million per local government for the GPBP anti-poverty projects on top of the regular funds such as Internal Revenue Allotment, congressional allocations and other line agency funds.
As a safeguard, Roxas said these projects initiated by people’s organizations will be more transparent expecting the community which decided on these projects will vigilantly monitor its implementation.
Deciding anti-poverty project will be a community effort, the secretary stressed, through local assembly or consultation composed of the Local Poverty Reduction Action Council “to discuss what are the real needs of the people.”
Measures are also in place to filter redundancies in existing line agency programs, he added.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 29, 2014.