To paint a clearer picture, BuB simply allows this scenario to happen:
Problem: Fisherfolk of Dagupan wanted to increase their catch, cut costs and drive up their incomes. They had no money to do this. But they were aware of the technology that would help them achieve this goal: GPS fish finders.
Result: The gov’t included the GPS fish finders in the budget. After the budget was passed, the GPS fish finders were subsequently delivered to the persons who needed them the most. This is inclusive governance at work.
What is BuB (Bottom-Up Budgeting)? To oversimplify it, one could say that it represents a simple slogan: “Budget ng Bayan, Decision ni Juan.”
Though there exists a formal definition, it simply means that the budget of the national gov’t shall be based on the needs of poor cities and municipalities as identified by “strong participation of basic sectors and civil society organizations.”
As described by one researcher:
Prior to BUB, the national gov’t budgeting process was primarily driven by the national government agencies x x x [Because of BuB, the gov’t now has] another avenue for people’s participation in local planning and budgeting and for generating demand for good governance at the local level.
VP Jojo Binay, Feb. 15, 2016.
According to the Vice-President:
The concept is good, pero I think ‘yong timing ngayon is medyo questionable. Di ba parang this is a form of bribe na naman sa mga local officials.
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Feb. 12, 2016.
According to the Mayor’s camp:
BUB is officially a campaign kitty of the administration bet. Mar is holding the life of every Filipino hostage by dangling P1,000 at the start of his presidential campaign, conditioning it on his fate come May 9. Clearly, the administration bet is resorting to bribery, offering money to local chief executives in the hope of winning their support. How this money is supposed to be spent under the BUB process is very questionable. The whole premise of this promise is questionable. Let us not be fooled by this. This early, Roxas is already trying to buy local executives by promising them rewards. He is as worse as Binay who is mired in allegations and cases of illegal wealth and corruption
Senator Grace Poe, March 20, 2016.
Parroting her rivals during the second round of debates in Cebu, Senator Grace Poe boldly insinuated that the Bottom-Up Budgeting (BuB) program of the government was a mechanism for “incentivizing” LGUs to vote for the administration bet. Her reason? She claimed that it was launched right before the elections. She also stated that because of the “menu” required by the BuB, this was limiting to LGUs seeking to avail of it. According to her:
[Una,] maganda yung prinsipyo ng BuB, pero hindi ba sa BuB meron ding mga menu kung ano lamang ang pwede nilang piliin na mga proyekto?
Pangalawa, Hindi ba kaduda-duda na nagkaroon tayo ng BUB ngayon na malapit na ang eleksyon na parang nagiging insentibo sa local government na maging panig sa administrasyon ngayon?
She is wrong on both counts.
The question was strange to begin with since this issue had already been answered when it was raised by the camps of both Mayor Duterte and Vice-President Binay.
The “Menu” Issue
With respect to the first, Roxas was able to defend the administration’s policy of having a “menu” considering that this did not prevent local governments from proposing other needs that their constituents would like to prioritize –
Roxas: May menu naman po, anong masama sa menu? Classroom, farm to market road, rural head unit… kasi hindi natin gusto na gagastusin nila ang pera para sa mga arko: “welcome”, “thank you”, “come again.” Eh diba sayang yung pera na yun.
Poe: Tama po pero…
Roxas: Ang gusto po natin ay malagay sa tama ang pag gastos nitong mga pera na ito
Poe: Pero sinabi ninyo na alam nila pero meron din mga bagay na pwede nilang makita na hindi nila nailagay dito sa menu na ito. Maari po ba silang isama rin dito
Roxas: Meron. Meron pong proseso na kung meron silang nakikitang paraan para makalutas sa kanilang problema na hindi kasama doon sa menu ay nagagawa po yun, may proseso po yun.
Apparently, the senator had only a passing familiarity with BuB and conveniently omitted to remember the very basics of the program. In a speech given on July of 2015, the senator stated that:
I understand that the Department of Budget and Management has been using a method called, Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB), which embodies these concepts. As opposed to the traditional budget formulation which is made by government officials, BUB begins at the grassroots level and encourages citizens to take active roles in the community by articulating their needs to the government and determining what projects are responsive to their needs.
BuB just for the elections?
The beginnings of BuB can traced to May 13, 2011 when President Aquino issued Executive Order No. 43 (2011) that formed government agencies into clusters that would pursue specific development goals. One such goal was to promote a more inclusive society.
Subsequently on March 8, 2012, a joint memorandum by various government agencies formulated the BuB pilot system, to wit:
As a strategy, the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster and the Good Governance and Anti Corruption Cluster organized under E.O. No. 43, s. 2011, together with the DBM and the DILG shall pilot the bottom-up approach to planning and budgeting.
Because of the initial success of the initiative, subsequent joint memorandums were issued which expanded the coverage of the system. Considering:
- That there were ample documents to support the existence of the BuB program prior to 2015;
- That BuB was a key reform measure to empower local communities;
- That this program was spearheaded in the DILG by the late Sec. Jesse Robredo rather than Secretary Roxas (who continued the work);
- That all the funds under BuB can be easily monitored through an open and transparent system…
Are the allegations hurdled against Mar simply due to sheer ignorance or is barbed malice in play?