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COA calls on Eastern Samar to use P22M floating bottom-up budgeting fund

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by Allan Yves Briones

The Commission on Audit (COA) has called on the provincial government of Eastern Samar to utilize its Bottom-Up Budgeting (BuB) fund totaling P22.3 million, portions of which have been idle for more than two years.

“The non-implementation of BuB programs deprived the intended beneficiaries of the benefits that could have been derived had funds for the purpose been deliberately and profoundly utilized and implemented,” the 2018 annual audit report read.

The BuB fund was established in 2015 through DBM-DILG-DSWD-NAPM Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 7 which seeks to increase the access of citizens to “local service delivery” through a “demand-driven budget planning process” also meant to strengthen government accountability.

State auditors found that despite being granted P58.16 million from 2015 to 2018, several BuB accounts have seen no movement for more than two years.

According to Eastern Samar officials, the provincial government was not aware that BuB funds were transferred to the province. Neither is the local office equipped with BuB records nor is a focal person designated.

COA found that the provincial government is in the practice of submitting project proposals to DILG, supplemented by feasibility studies prior to the transfer of government resources – procedures “clearly contrary” to the JMC which resulted to the “delayed utilization of the funds.”

The state auditing agency recommended that the provincial government assign a BuB focal person who will monitor and coordinate the implementation of projects in order to avoid cancellation by the source agency, and to ensure the delivery of benefits envisioned under the program. #