RDC-12 endorses P90.7B budget for line agencies, GOCCs, universities and colleges

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 8 Apr) – The Regional Development Council (RDC) of Region 12 has endorsed a budget of around P90.768 billion for the operations next year of regional line agencies, government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and state colleges and universities (SUCs) in the region.

Arturo Valero, acting RDC-12 chairperson, said Wednesday they issued the endorsement following a four-day review and consultation of the budget proposals as well as projects, plans and activities (PPA) for 2016 of the area’s 34 regional offices, six GOCCs and five SUCs.

He said the review focused on whether the budgets and the PPAs were aligned with the national government’s social contract, Regional Development Plan, Regional Development and Investment Program and the 2016 Annual Investment Program.

“We found them supportive with the government’s social agreement, key result areas and our regional development plans and investment programs,” he said.

Valero said the review of the budget proposals is in consonance with the RDC’s mandate as provided for in Executive Order 325, Series of 1995 and in compliance with National Budget Memorandum 123 or the budget call for 2016.

Based on the PPAs presented to the council, he said the social development component received the biggest allocation with P61.181 billion or 67.49 percent, followed by infrastructure support with P18.70 billion or 20.6 percent, agriculture and fishery with P5.930 billion or 6.54 percent, and good governance and rule of law with P383 million or 0.423 percent.

The Department of Education (DepEd)-Region 12 submitted the highest budget proposal with P46.293 billion followed by the Department of Public Works and Highways-Region 12 with P13.292 billion, he said.

“DepEd-12’s huge budgetary requirement is due to the implementation of the senior high school program,” Valero.

The senior high school program is a component of the of the government’s K to 12 education program, which is due for full implementation in 2016.

The K to 12 program, which was first implemented by DepEd in 2012, provided an additional two years to the country’s basic education program.

It covers Kindergarten and 12 years of basic education – six years of primary education, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school.

During the budget review, Valero said they recommended to the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Region 12 the inclusion in its budget of the grants for agrarian reform areas under the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan or PAMANA program.

He said the budget for such item was excluded by the Department of Agrarian Reform-Region 12 from its budget proposal as it is no longer a part of the agency’s PPAs.

The official said they also discussed issues regarding the poor repayment of loans availed by student-recipients of the Commission on Higher Education’s Study-Now-Pay-Later Scholarship Program, DA-12’s operations and the region’s food security program in line with the termination by 2016 of the of the Soccsksargen Area Development Project.