Siquijor Representative Rav Rocamora today lamented the deletion of the bottom up budgeting (BuB) program from the proposed 2017 national budget submitted by DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno. Rocamora, author of House Joint Resolution No. 4 which calls for the reinstatement of the BuB in the 2017 national budget said that the BuB was an integral program for democratizing the budget process and empowering the poorest of the poor.
“Removing the BuB makes the national budget even more detached from the lives of the communities that government should be serving. The whole purpose of the BuB is to ensure that the people have a say in government’s spending,” Rocamora said.
Rocamora added, “The BuB is a crucial anti-poverty measure that caters to those on the fringes of society. Instead of deleting it, it should even be expanded.”
Rocamora stressed that while the DBM increased the funding allocation for local government units, this did not necessarily have the same effect as BuB since there were little mechanisms to ensure citizen participation in identifying projects and programs that LGUS should undertake.
“This increase misses the point. People deserve to have a bigger say in the country’s spending priorities instead of being told what they need. No matter how big the budget the central government wants to funnel into the LGUs, if the process in itself does not involve ordinary citizens, people’s organizations and civil society then it does nothing to democratize the budget process,” according to Rocamora.
BuB reinstatement, Law pushed
Meanwhile, Rocamora vowed to push for the reinstatement of the BuB program in the national budget.
“But I believe that more than its reinstatement, we need to institutionalize people’s participation in such a very crucial function of government as the budgetary process. Only a BuB Law can insulate the program from political patronage,” he said.
“We will get the support of other legislators who agree with the benefits of keeping the BuB. While our partners and allies in civil society and people’s organization will add pressure in support of this endeavor,” Rocamora added.
Rocamora is one of the authors of House Joint Resolution No. 4 together with Rep. Carmelo B. Lazatin II (1st District, Pampanga), Akbayan Party-list Rep. Tomasito S. Villarin, and Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, Jr. Author of the counterpart measure in the Senate is Sen. Risa Hontiveros.