Regional priorities in Bicol were highlighted during the Regional Development Council (RDC) 5 Technical Budget Review on January 20 to 22, 2021 via videoconference as the region prepares for the budget preparation for fiscal year (FY) 2022. The budget review aims to evaluate the budget proposals of the agency regional offices (AROs) and state universities and colleges (SUCs) in alignment with the Philippine Development Plan 2017 to 2022, Regional Development Plan 2017 to 2022 and Sustainable Development Goals to ensure better resource allocation.
In her opening message, NEDA Regional Director and RDC Vice Chairperson Agnes E. Tolentino emphasized the regional priorities such as the Regional Core Projects, Peace and Development Program, Regional Recovery Program for COVID-19, and Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program to be included in the FY 2022 budget proposals. FY 2022 marks the start of the implementation of Mandanas-Garcia Supreme Court ruling to strengthen synergy among national government agencies (NGAs) and local government units (LGUs) through devolution of functions and resources. She said that, “Based on the National Budget Memorandum (NBM) No. 138 or the National Budget Call for FY 2022, the NGAs will focus on policy and standards development of service delivery, provision of technical assistance, monitoring and performance assistance of LGUs.”
The implication of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling was reiterated by Director Renato M. De Vera of DBM Region 5 when he presented the salient features of the NBM 138. He said that, “with SC ruling on Mandanas-Garcia petitions, LGUs will be receiving substantial increase in Internal Revenue Allotment (or National Tax Allotment) beginning FY 2022. The LGUs are expected to be responsible for funding and delivery of activities which have been devolved to them under the Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code.” Continued adoption of the administrative reforms for greater budget transparency and reliability was also discussed.
The FY 2022 budget proposals of 33 AROs and nine SUCs were deliberated on by a panel of reactors composed of stakeholders in regional development, namely: RDC private sector representatives; and representatives from key agencies, provinces and cities, and members of the House of Representatives.
The budget review is an annual activity of the RDC in pursuant to its mandate under Executive Order No. 325, Series of 1996, to review and endorse the annual budget proposals of the AROs, SUCs, government owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and other special development bodies. It was the first online technical budget review and was well attended as most heads of agencies and presidents of SUCs presented their budget proposals.