DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/05 August) – Malacanang’s proposed budget for next year will give five of the six regions in Mindanao an increase of almost 40 percent over this year’s allocation, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) announced.
DBM Secretary Florencio Abad said Western Mindanao, Caraga, Southwestern Mindanao, Davao Region and the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will get bigger shares from the P1.816-trillion proposed budget for next year.
Malacañang has allocated P799.6 billion of the proposed 2012 National Budget for the regions, or 28.7 percent more than the P621.2-billion regionalized budget in 2011 in response to the clamor for a greater dispersal of the budget to the countryside.
Western Mindanao (Region 9) is the recipient of the biggest increase among the regions in Mindanao with 39.4 percent followed by Caraga with 37.9 percent, Central Mindanao (Region 12) with 36.9 percent, Davao (Region XI) with 32.5 percent and ARMM with 31.7 percent.
“This is one way to ensure that national government spending benefits the people, especially those in the regions,” said Abad in a statement.
In this year’s regionalized budget, Malacanan allocated P24.9 billion for Region IX, P21.9 billion for Caraga, P26.6 billion for Region XII, P27.1 billion for Region XI and P29.4 billion for ARMM.
Mindanao’s overall share in the 2012 proposed budget has increased by 32.8 percent to 219.1 billion while that of the Visayas has increased by 31.2 percent to P165.3 billion. Luzon still gets the largest share, 415.1 billion, but by a narrower growth rate of 25.7 billion.
Abad said earlier that P150.5 billion in lump-sum funds have been fleshed out into specific projects or into regional and sub-regional distributions in the proposed budget for 2012. Through the zero-based budgeting approach, the Aquino government saw the need to move away from lump-sum budgeting.
Meanwhile, the non-regionalized portion of the budget, including budgetary requirements for central offices and centrally-managed lump-sum funds, will decrease by 23.4 percent to P1.016 trillion in 2012 from P1.327 trillion in this year.
Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya, hair of the House appropriations committee, expressed hope the budget measure would be signed by December 15. The marathon budget hearing started on Monday with the minority bloc in the House boycotting the deliberations.
Reports said the opposition lawmakers boycotted the hearing in protest over the alleged delay in the releases of their pork barrel funds for this year.
Under the proposed 2012 General Appropriations Act, the Department of Education will continue to receive the lion’s share with P238.8 billion, followed by the Department of Public Works and Highways with P125.5 billion, the Department of National Defense with P107.9 billion, the Department of Agriculture with P54.1 billion, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which handles the administration flagship anti-poverty Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program, with P49.4 billion. (Rico Biliran/MindaNews)