Call for Participatory Planning and Budgeting!
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We, members and leaders of people’s organizations, non-government organizations, academe, churches and faith groups and the local communities:
Recognize that the participatory local governance has stayed important as a means for local development even in times of constant change. Since the advent of the 1991 Local Government Code (LGC), many local government units (LGUs) and CSOs have built partnerships in reducing poverty and boosting the local economy through the local development councils (LDCs) and other LGC mandated mechanisms. In some special cases, LGUs and CSOs have taken participation a step further by creating people’s councils, initiating regular “LGU reports to the citizens” and CSO or citizens’ report cards, and other means.
Are concerned when the current administration declared a new program named as Assistance to the Disadvantaged Municipalities (ADM) as replacement to the previous participatory mechanism known as Bottom-up Budgeting process. Under the new ADM pogram, the project identification was done only by the mayor and one (1) accredited civil society organization (CSO) representative to be chosen by the mayor.
Strongly believe that by bringing in the citizens and their organizations in the planning and budgeting process together with the local government units (LGUs), the identified programs and projects will have a larger impact in achieving the goals of ADM and the development of LGUs in general.
Emphasize that the ADM can perhaps strengthen local government units (LGUs), promote good governance standards and build abilities to deliver basic services. However, this will only happen if the guidelines for the program ensure meaningful people’s participation and responsiveness to the needs of the people, especially the poor and disadvantaged.
WE HEREBY DECLARE OUR COMMON STAND:
1. We call for participatory ADM to ensure participatory planning and budgeting, starting at the local level, in the preparation of the national government budget for 2018 and succeeding years.
2. We call on the DILG and DBM to improve the ADM guidelines by (a) requiring greater participation of local CSOs in the process through, among others, more CSO representatives chosen by the local CSOs themselves, (b) expanding the menu of projects, and (c) including cities with high poverty magnitude in the program.
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