Recommendations for the Effectivity and Responsiveness of Barangay Budgets

(Letter dated May 25, 2020 and addressed to the City Mayor and Sangguniang Panlungsod)

Dear Mayor and the Honorable Members of the Sangguniang Panglungsod,

Through Resolution No. 2020-003 which was approved on January 7, 2020, the Special Committee on Barangay Budgets was created to ensure the approval of the 2020 Barangay Budgets within the first quarter of the year. The said Special Committee was also given the task of submitting its assessment and recommended measures to the City Mayor and the Sanggunian to assist Barangays’ future compliance in the submission of effective and responsive Barangay Budgets for approval by the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

In light of the foregoing, the following findings with specific recommendations are submitted by the undersigned, with the concurrence of the members of the Special Committee on Barangay Budgets, for consideration and appropriate action:

  1. At the onset of this initiative, it was already known that even with the conduct of previous trainings and seminars by different government agencies (DILG, COA, City Government) to assist Barangays in the crafting of their Annual Budget, Barangays still find technical difficulty due to the absence of a readily available, uniform, and user-friendly guide for Barangay Officials involved in the preparation of the Annual Budget.

With this, it is recommended for the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Naga to commission the Special Committee on Barangay Budgets to produce a simplified and localized Barangay Budgeting Manual to be distributed to the barangays in hard and soft copies and which will incorporate all the necessary guidance needed by Barangay Officials in the planning, preparation, execution, and review of their Annual Budgets.

  • The Special Committee also found out that the challenge was not only on the technical aspect of the budget preparation. Many barangays prepare their budgets in disregard of the ideal process of convening Barangay Development Councils to formulate long-term plans and regularly taking the pains of an institutional, honest-to-goodness, consultative approach in their Annual and Supplemental Investment Plans.

Section 305 of the Local Government Code provides that “local government budgets shall operationalize the approved local development plans”. Without the priority programs and projects embodied in the plans endorsed by Barangay Development Councils, there is no basis for the programming of funds and therefore no basis for budgeting.

Therefore, it is suggested that the City Government, through the technical assistance of the City Planning and Development Office, in coordination with the Liga ng mga Barangay and the Naga City People’s Council, formulate an action plan to strengthen efforts aimed at consistently monitoring and assisting barangays in organizing and empowering their respective Barangay Development Councils.

Likewise, for them to formulate a barangay development plan and investment program based on consultations with representatives of the key sectors in the barangays, preferably with the participation of new faces residing in the barangay.  The said agencies shall, thereafter, inform the City Mayor and the Sangguniang Panlungsod of suggested legislative measures, if any; and the PPAs it shall initiate for inclusion, if necessary, in the City’s Development Plan and Budget.

  • Minor amendments in the People’s Budget Ordinance should also be considered specifying how the SK Budgets are to be reviewed separately by the Sangguniang Panlungsod in pursuance of the SK Reform Act of 2015 enjoining financial independence of the operations, disbursements and encashment of funds, income and expenditures of the Sangguniang Kabataan.

The DBM-DILG-National Youth Commission JMC No. 1 dated January 23, 2019 has already provided the “Guidelines on the Appropriation, Release, Planning and Budgeting Process for the SK Funds”. Paragraph of the Guidelines specifically provides that “The SK secretary shall submit the SK annual/supplemental budget to the sangguniang panlungsod or sangguniang bayan, through the city/municipal budget officer, within ten (10) days upon the approval thereof.”

  • Furthermore, the People’s Budget Ordinance which lays out the guidance and pre-requisites in the approval of Barangay Budgets must be consistently and strictly implemented, giving emphasis to the compliance of Barangays with the Indicative Budget Calendar and the possible administrative and criminal liability imposable upon Punong Barangays who fail to submit the budget as provided under Section 318 of R.A. No. 7160 and other applicable laws.

Due to the unfortunate occurrence of COVID19 which imposed strict quarantine measures all over the country since mid-March causing unprecedented changes in government priorities, we regret to inform that there are still 7 barangays operating under a reenacted budget as of May 20, 2020. However, with the government offices almost back to normal and the full cooperation of the Technical Working Group, we were assured that all Barangay Budgets will be endorsed for approval within this month, making way for the preparation and planning for next year’s Barangay Budgets in time. Thank you for your consideration.

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