Engr. Jose Chito Milante, MPDC Chairman recently called a conference with the members of the council composed of the different representatives of the civil society organizations existing in San Jose town as well as the different Municipal department heads to discuss immediate adjustments to the 2015 LGU Budget Cap covered by the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process (GPBP) formerly known as the Bottoms-Up Budgeting, as directed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) per Regional Circular Letter No. 2014-03 dated September 5, 2014 issued by Director Maria Angelita C. Cells, OIC Regional Director of DBM-RO5.
Engr. Milante stressed that the annual amount of about ₱15 million supposed budget cap allocation for 2015 was recently reduced by about 16.7% to ₱12.5 million. Thus, the decrease subsequently affected the former allocation on GPBP projects as approved by the Regional Poverty Reduction Action Team (RPRAT) and National Poverty Reduction Action Team (NPRAT).
He cited the former allocation of the following projects: On Agriculture include Community Seed Banking (Rice Seeds only), ₱0.5 million; establishment of Fishery Training Center, ₱4.0 million; and establishment of Fish Sanctuary, ₱0.5 million. On Education, rehabilitation of the six school campuses with over ₱3.7 million and operation of Gulayan sa Paaralan for the 22 elementary schools, ₱220,000. On local governance, health, and employment include the constructions of Water Supply System, with over ₱4.4 million; capability building for Health Care Providers, with over ₱0.5 million; and livelihood skills development training, with ₱1.0 million. Engr. Milante further informed that the two GPBP projects affected were those under the agriculture sector, namely: the establishment of Fishery Training Center and establishment of Fish Sanctuary with an aggregate allocation of ₱4.5 million, thus, it was reduced now to ₱2.0 million with ₱1.5 re-allocated to the former and the remaining amount of ₱0.5 million to the latter.
The Local Poverty Reduction Action Team (LPRAT) of San Jose did the re-allocation process and approval of the same immediately after the MPDC meeting, Engr. Milante said. The LPRAT conference was presided over by Mr. Glenn Climaco, the DILG-RO5 Community Mobilizer, and participated in by members of the civil society organizations headed by Mr. Palmeto P. Valencia as the Co-Chairman with Wilson B. Obias representing the Parents-Teachers Association-Elementary; Amy C. Valencia, 4Ps Leader-San Jose; Salvacion C. Cacam, Religious Sector; Marieta V. Mariano, CSO leader, accredited by LGU San Jose; Roger O. Relloso, Youth Sector; Raquel Ruiz, CSO leader; and Noeca P. Villegas, Women’s Group.
Mr. Climaco when interviewed said that LPRAT unanimously preferred not to eliminate certain proposed project under GPBP and instead re-allocate what is left of the amount allocated for agriculture. The move was unanimously approved with no objections on the part of the participating leaders.
Corollarily, Engr. Milante also said that the two projects for agriculture are now re-classified by the DBM under various projects. When asked about the reason for such budget cut, Engr. Milante said that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued a memorandum dated September 1, 2014 to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) informing the latter that the GPBP budget allocation which is close to ₱1.0 billion was found out to be insufficient to cover the previously provided budget cap because of the increase of the number of the participating LGUs from 1,200 to 1,600 already. He further learned that those LGUs with budget cap allocation of more than ₱35 million are now fixed to ₱30 million only.