P12.3 billion in BDP fund released to LGUs -- DILG exec

Some P12.3 billion or 75 percent of the total allocation for the 822 recipients of the Barangay Development Program (BDP) have been disbursed to the intended beneficiaries, an official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) disclosed Friday, May 14.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya (Photo courtesy of DILG)

DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, who is also the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson on BDP and local government concerns, said the amount was released for more than 1,750 projects in 617 barangays whose allocations were approved by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) as of May 12.

“This only goes to show how efficiently these funds are being handled directly by the local government units (LGUs). Only last week, we reported a 65 percent budget approval but with updates we got from Regions 4A and 11, we now stand at 75 percent,” Malaya said.

He clarified that "not a single centavo passes through the NTF-ELCAC" and that the funds were released directly by DBM to the recipient LGUs upon completion of required documentation.

Of the 822 barangays, 782 barangays were endorsed for fund release by their respective Joint Regional Task Force-ELCAC. The other 40 barangays are still up for review and endorsement by the JRTFs.

Malaya assured the public of transparency in the implementation of the projects under the BDP.

“For the public to continuously monitor updates on the hows, whys, and wherefores about the BDP, I invite them to make it a habit to visit the NTF-ELCAC webpage https://www.ntfelcac.org/bdp-dashboard,” he said.

“There, everyone will be able to keep track of where their taxes are going. And we assure you that these funds are going to where they are supposed to go and are spent the way they are supposed to be spent,” he stressed.

The BDP is a flagship program of the NTF-ELCAC, the country's anti-communist task group, which was conceptualized to address insurgency by bringing sustainable solutions and basic services to communities in need.

It was given a whopping P16.44-billion budget by the Congress for the implementation of development projects in 822 barangays that were cleared of communist influence from 2016 to 2019.

Malaya said the funds were directly released to the provincial or city governments as the DBM had provided the guidelines in the release of funds for hundreds of barangays in nine regions under Local Budget Circular 135 and 135-A.

Each barangay will receive P20 million worth of projects which include: P12 million for concrete farm-to-market roads; P3 million for school buildings; P2 million for water and sanitation; P1.5 million for health stations; and P1.5 million for livelihood assistance.

From 2016 to 2019, government security forces have cleared 822 former rebel communities by dismantling the communist guerilla fronts that have previously exerted control over them.

These communities are now in the process of transforming their formerly conflict-vulnerable barangays into areas of peace and empowerment.