SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
Members of the House committee on Mindanao affairs have approved the creation of a technical working group (TWG) that will review and work on the proposed budget for Mindanao for 2019.
The TWG will be composed of the six vice chairpersons of the committee, namely, Zajid Mangudadatu, Ruby Sahali, Alberto Ungab, Aurora Enerio Cerilles, Nancy Catamco, and Evelyn Mellana; and representatives of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).
During the hearing, committee chairman Rep. Maximo Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City), said the proposed 2019 budget for Mindanao, which was presented by MinDA Secretary Datu Abul Khayr Alonto, is 21 percent higher than this year’s budget.
“We need around P1.25 trillion spread over five years to ensure that we get the minimum 21 percent of the budget. So, ito ‘yung master plan natin,” said Rodriguez.
But Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo (2nd District, Lanao del Norte) said the NEDA did not absorb the ideas of Alonto.
“There should a discussion so that NEDA will adopt our ideas. I think what Secretary Alonto is doing, is for us to take it (2019 budget) up with the DBM and NEDA,” said Dimaporo.
Rodriguez said the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD) of the House of Representatives came out with a report dated September 12, 2017 on how Mindanao fared in the budget along with all the agencies included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).
The CPBRD report stated that under the 2018 National Expenditure Program (NEP), Mindanao’s share of 12.5 percent to the total national budget is almost the same as its average share in 2014 to 2017.
However, it can be observed that the difference between the shares of the National Capital Region (NCR) and Mindanao widened from 1.9 percentage points, compared to the 2014 to 2017 average of 11.3 percentage points. The same widening gap in budget shares occurred between Mindanao and nationwide allocations, the report stated.
Considering that Mindanao has 40 percent poverty incidence and still has the lowest budget, Rodriguez said “12.5 percent is too small for us.”
Budget and Management Director Amanella Arevalo corrected the figure, saying based on the table from the budget expenditure, Mindanao has 16.2 percent share of the total allocation.
Arevalo explained to the committee how the DBM formulated the budget for a given year. She said the DBM issued a budget call which specified all the requirements that an agency had to submit before its budget proposal for the year will be developed.
Arevalo said the DBM is following the Two-Tier approach in the formulation of the budget. She said the budget call contains all the requirements for Tier 1, including the budget calendar that the agency should follow before the finalization of the budget.
Tier 1 covers the cost of on-going programs and projects while Tier 2 covers all the new or expanded cost of existing projects, Arevalo said.
“As of now, we are developing the Tier 1 level,” said Arevalo.
MinDA assistant secretary Romeo Montenegro said the DBM sets the parameters for the proposals that are submitted by different line agencies and puts a cap in the ceiling of the budget proposals.
Montenegro said there were budget items of some agencies, which they have studied and reviewed, that were affected by the ceiling.
Meanwhile, Rep. Prospero Pichay (1st District, Surigao del Sur), moved that all public infrastructure projects should be implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). (E.A. Galvez)