PALO, Leyte -- With the aim of getting a bigger chunk of the budget pie, the Regional Development Council (RDC) asked national government agencies and state-run schools in Eastern Visayas to start drafting the proposed 2019 budget before the end of the month.
The region’s highest policy-making body aims to complete within the week the orientation of the 2019 budget review process.
“This is an initiative of RDC Eastern Visayas. It’s better to start early for us to have more time to prepare documents, consult, and review all the proposed budget,” said RDC vice chairperson Bonifacio Uy, regional chief of the National Economic Development Authority.
From September 24 to November 8, 2017, government agencies and state universities and colleges are expected to prepare budget proposals, consult with civil society organizations, submit forms, conduct technical review, undergo RDC sectoral committee review, and RDC full council review.
The proposed 2019 outlay is in line with the Regional Development Plan 2017-2022, Result Matrix, and the Regional Development Investment Program, Uy said.
The Plan and the Matrix spell out the priority development directions and targets while the RDIP outlines the priority development programs, projects, and activities of the region in the next six years.
“Early budget review will ensure that proposed budgets will push for fund allocations for investment that support regional development priorities along human, economic and infrastructure development, including that of the post-disaster rehabilitation and recovery needs,” Uy explained.
Department of Trade and Industry Regional Director Cynthia Nierras, chair of the RDC economic development committee, said early budget review will help address the problem of long and difficult process of procurement.
“Through early budget preparation, we are influencing the head offices to come up with proposed project items early for prioritization by the Department of Budget and Management."
The budget review and consultation will cover 47 departments and other attached agencies and 10 state universities and colleges based in the region’s six provinces.
Eastern Visayas region needs at least PHP430 billion for priority activities under the draft 2017-2022 RDIP.
The funding initially listed by officials from government and private sector is up for approval by the RDC in its third quarter meeting on September 28.
Eastern Visayas or Region 8 is the third poorest among 18 regions in the country. As of 2015, the region’s poverty incidence among families is pegged at 30.7 percent, which means that three out of every 10 families in the region are poor.
However, in 2016, its Gross Regional Domestic Product grew by 12.4 percent, the fastest growing region in the country, offsetting economic losses incurred from super typhoon Yolanda in 2013. (with reports from Reynadel F. Costillas, OJT/PNA)