Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday, March 8, revealed plans to revive the Aquino administration’s bottom-up budgeting (BUB) scheme to prioritize the projects of the local government units (LGUs) down to the barangay level if she wins in May 2022.
The program, which started during her husband, the late former Interior secretary Jesse Robredo’s stint, allowed LGUs, civil society organizations, and community groups to pitch priority poverty-reduction projects to be funded by the annual national budget.
The goal of the scheme, which was scrapped by the Duterte administration apparently because it was being used as a political tool, was to make the budget process more responsive and empowering to LGUs.
“Pag binigyan po ako ng pagkakataon, ibabalik po natin ‘yung BUB para siguraduhin natin na may say hindi lang ‘yung mga cities and municipalities pero dapat ‘yung BUB mag-uumpisa sa barangay level para may say ‘yung barangay kung ano ‘yung mga proyektong kailangan niya at natutukan nito (If I am given a chance, we will bring back the BUB to make sure that the cities and municipalities are not the only ones with a say, but the BUB will start at the barangay level so the barangay will have a say what programs it needs and focuses on), without you having to beg and to ask from the national government,” Robredo said.
The Vice President delivered the keynote speech at the 2022 National Women’s Month Celebration: Women’s Summit at the Surigao del Norte Provincial Convention Center in Surigao City, Surigao del Norte.
Robredo is in Caraga Administrative Region (Caraga) for a two-day visit as part of her campaign’s foray into southern Philippines.
She also lamented that the barangay workers—tanods (village watchmen), barangay health workers, and barangay nutrition scholars—are not properly compensated.
They are “overworked and underpaid,” the lady official noted.
“Napakarami ng trabaho pero napaka kaunti ng remuneration pero lahat kayo, kailangan bigyan pugay din dahil kayo, hindi niyo tinitingnan kung gaano kataas ‘yung sweldo o gaano kababa ‘yung sweldo (There’s a lot of work but the renumeration is very little but all of you, should be honored because you, you don’t look at how high or low the salary is),” Robredo said, adding that barangay workers are available “all the time.”
The aspiring president recounted that when she was in Congress, she proposed a law that would professionalize the roles of barangay volunteer workers, so their salaries will be commensurate to their roles.
Robredo promised that if given the chance, such law will be one of her priorities.