Gov’t earmarks Php312-M BUB fund for agri dev’t in Bicol this year

April 17, 2015 9:58 am 

By Danny O. Calleja

PILI, Camarines Sur, April 17 (PNA) – Apart from its regular budget, the Department of Agriculture (DA) regional office in Bicol is using a total amount of over Php312 million provided by the national government under its Grassroots Participatory Budget Process (GPBP) for agricutlural development in the region.

Formerly known as the Bottom-Up Budgeting, the GPBP being applied by the administration of Pres. Benigno Aquino III is a somewhat modern approach to planning in the use of government’s financial resources that is different from the usual top-down budgeting where the high level executives make all the decisions in fund dispensations.

This scheme provides the opportunity for grantees to be involved in setting their own goals and expectations for a given financial period and gives them ownership of the decisions, motivating them to meet budgetary constraints that otherwise might seem unattainable or unrealistic if they were delivered by someone without as much understanding of their day-to-day operations.

Bicol for this year has been allocated by the Department of Budget and Management a total of Php1.7 billion in GPBP funds distributed for release to LGUs and other beneficiaries by 14 line agencies, including DA and the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, Education, Interior and Local Government, Energy, Health, Labor and Employment, Transportation, Social Welfare and Development and Trade and Industry.

The Local Government Support Fund of the DILG, National Electrification Administration, National Irrigation Administration and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority also have their own separate shares of GPBP funds at their disposal.

The Empowerment of the Poor Program developed by the National Anti-Poverty Commission, in cooperation with the DILG, complements the GPBP initiative by strengthening CSOs' capacity to engage with the LGUs in this exercise.

“Without funds, agricultural development will be slow if not nil hence, Bicol has been given this year by the national government a total of Php312.1 million in special allocation under the GPBP to further nourish the region’s farming sector,” DA Regional Executive Director Abelardo Bragas on Thursday here said.

He said Bicol, with its largest farming area compared to all the other 16 regions of the country, is top contributor to the national economic growth in terms of agricultural productivity and with this additional fund, the DA would be able to finance more farm development projects identified by local government units (LGUs), he said.

A total of 108 projects proposed by some LGUs in the six provinces of the region, which qualified to the GPBP for having Public Financial Management Implementation Plan and being awardees of the Seal of Good Financial Housekeeping given by the DBM, are to be funded by this allocation, according to Bragas.

This number of projects are distributed among seven LGUs in Albay, accounting for a total of 16 projects; Camarines Norte, 20 projects for 11 LGUs; Camarines Sur, 30 projects of 13 LGUs; Catanduanes, seven projects of four LGUs; Masbate, 17 projects in six LGUs and; Sorsogon, 18 projects in nine LGUs.

These projects are composed mainly of agricultural productivity support infrastructures like farm-to-market roads (FMRs), community irrigation systems and post-harvest facilities that are necessary to make farming, harvesting, storage and marketing of farm products easier for more income of farmers, Bragas said.

Last year, 465 similar projects have been identified for funding, also under the GPBP of DA and checks representing these have been recently turned over to beneficiary LGUs.

Of these number of projects, Bragas said, Albay got 55; Camarines Norte, 50; Camarines Sur, 120; Catanduanes, 41; Masbate, 100 and; Sorsogon, 99.

Its recipients include the municipalities of Polangui, Albay, which got Php1.1 million for the first tranche of a non-FMR project; Daraga, also of Albay—Php9 million representing the first tranche of release for FMR and an additional of Php400,000 for a non-FMR project; Irosin, Sorsogon—Php2.1 million as first tranche of release for a non-FMR project and; Bulan, Sorsogon—Php1.045 million, also as first tranche for FMR.

The municipality of Prieto Diaz, Sorsogon, also got Php700,000 for a non-FMR project; Batuan, Masbate—Php408,500 for an non-FMR and; Bato, Catanduanes—Php2 million and Php2.5 million for FMR and non-FMR projects, respectively.

Bragas clarified that all GPBP-funded LGU proejcts are focused either on the production of corn, rice and other high-value crops and livestock based on organic agriculture system. (PNA)



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