As SC votes on DAP, BUB takes a bow

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As the Supreme Court votes today on the constitutionality of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), a new three-letter acronym BUB (for Bottom up Budgeting) is elbowing its way into the spotlight, with billions of public funds in tow.

A new budget scheme concocted by the administration, BUB could also reach the High Court, once anti-pork crusaders realize that BUB could swindle them of their winnings and succeed in resurrecting the already nullified Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) under a different name.

In a show of both ingenuity and shamelessness, Budget Secretary Butch Abad is also the father and inventor of BUB. In this commentary, I have depended for my information on and I gratefully acknowledge an excellent report by Chito Lozada published by the Daily Tribune yesterday.

Ten changes under BUB
In his report, Lozada disclosed the following developments and changes under the BUB scheme.


1. The Aquino administration— through Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad —is using the national budget as a tool for political consolidation by touting Bottom Up Budgeting (BUB) as a reform in the budgeting process.

In truth, BUB is being pushed as an alternative to the old PDAF system, which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

While the PDAF is now buried and done with, the BUB alternative has found life and is growing bigger in size every year.

2. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) under Abad is now preparing the 2015 national budget.

Under the Budget Call, which is a document that sets out the expenditure parameters and the “indicative budget ceiling” of agencies, results of the BUB exercise will be incorporated into the requested appropriations of 13 participating agencies, but with one notable exception, the housing agencies.

The Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) is excluded because it is headed by Vice President Jejomar Binay.

3.This year, BUB funds total P20.1 billion, spread out in 1,226 municipalities. The scheme bypasses legislators and funnels funds directly to LGUs.

4. In terms of funding, BUB’s outlay is bigger than what all congressmen got from the old PDAF system. Many are wondering what our honorable congressmen will say about this.

5. Different local government units and agencies were the recipients of a total of P6.634 billion in DILG assistance from April to June this year. Roxas has been distributing the funds in person and in various regions.

Besides LGUs, police stations are also beneficiaries of the new largesse. The Tribune got hold of a table which showed police stations receiving funds.

6. Funds are distributed under various programs such as the grassroots participatory budget process for water supply projects, grassroots participatory budget process, the performance challenge fund, the DILG’s Oplan Hilamos program, the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities) or PAMANA program, and rehabilitation assistance of areas devastated by typhoon Yolanda.

7. Under the guise of grassroots empowerment, each municipality is asked to draw up a wish list of P15 million worth of projects. In this way, the scheme clones PDAF, but this time the municipal project is not a congressional entitlement but something facilitated by the DILG, so as not to attract attention, the items are not booked separately in the national budget, but dispersed through 13 agencies, and government departments.

BUB requests are prepared under the auspices of DBM and DILG and then attached to the budget of the agencies.

8. In 2013, BUB was renamed as the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process. Sources say its budget for 2015 may go up to P25 billion.

9. BUB is also being used as an organizing vehicle. Under the DBM-DILG-DSWD-National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) Joint Memorandum Circular of November 26, 2013, the drawing up of BUB projects for funding entails consultations with non-government organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs).

The DILG has a major role in naming the organizations to benefit from the scheme. The department will convene the Civil Society General Assembly in cities and towns.

While the selection of most NGOs and CSOs will be done along generic/sectoral lines, the DSWD will remain in charge of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) or conditional cash transfer scheme. Recipients of CCT largesse will be given seats at the table, preparatory to being turned into a voting bloc in the 2016 elections. They’re being told to become active politically to ensure the continuity of the 4Ps assistance to them.

10. Under the BUB scheme, NEDA is demoted from principal economic planner in the region to ordinary member of a DILG-led team. Yet in terms of competence, it is the NEDA that has the staff, the experience and the expertise in making economic blueprints.

The BUB’s main purpose is to consult the public on managing and allocating public funds. In 2013, 595 of the poorest municipalities and cities were able to develop Local Poverty Reduction Action Plans (LPRAPs) after consultation with the civil society organizations (CSOs) and local governments.

In 2014, the coverage of the BUB is being expanded to 1,233 cities and municipalities.

Scheme for political consolidation
Former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno has criticized the BUB scheme as inimical to representative democracy wherein citizen voters elect their representative to make policy decisions for them.

Diokno says BUB gives national government officials the power to choose who among the many CSOs can participate in the BUB program.

“This is not a real budget reform but a scheme for political consolidation,” he said.

The BUB scheme, he says, is an extension of previous initiatives to involve the regional development councils in the budget process. Now it is being turned into a political tool to secure the support of favored civil society organizations.

BUB confirms Roxas candidacy
If anything, BUB confirms the candidacy for president of DILG secretary Mar Roxas in 2016, and the full backing of President Aquino for his bid.

All the talk about the administration searching for an alternative to Roxas – including considering the ailing Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago – is just talk and misdirection.

The die is cast for Mar.

His campaign has begun for all intents and purposes.

He will have a base to build on if BUB has its way and does its worst.

And most important, he has plenty of funds to share with local communities under BUB.

As in his invention of the DAP, so with BUB. Butch Abad shows himself as an astute political strategist and a totally partisan public official.

Three questions to answer
But some questions remain to be answered.

First, after the Supreme Court rules today that the DAP is unconstitutional, will Abad be forced to resign, or will he face charges in court? Or will he tough it out, showing everyone his thick face?

Second, what will Congress, especially the Lower House, do now that legislators are totally excluded by BUB from having a say in the distribution of funds and projects to LGUs.

Whatever happened to Congress’ much-vaunted “power of the purse”?

Third, with a consolidated base at the grassroots, will Mar Roxas finally rise in the esteem and estimation of his countrymen? Will he pick up a percentage point or two in the favorability ratings?

All these questions are moot until the full impact of the high court’s ruling on DAP has run its course.

If my “tipping point” forecast was in any way correct, we could be looking at a different political landscape and environment before the year is over.

When the Supreme Court speaks today, it will be as if the Oracle of Delphi had spoken.

When the oracle spoke, Kings listened. Will President Aquino?

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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21 Comments

  1. Whether DAP or BUB, the money will still go under the General Budget Appropriation doesn’t it?, because the constitution says, “congress is the purse keeper”. So really and truly congress still has the last say whether this BUB will have any funds or not. Sure the distribution of the monies might be under the CIDG and LGUs but Roxas, Abad and Pinoy still have to bribe congress if they want the budget approved. Double jeopardy?

  2. Alejo Rosete on

    Mar Roxas to be President?

    Yes “Ma’m Janet”

    Remember, Your a Romualdez and the President is a Aquino – and want the Mayor sign a statement that he is incapable of handling the the worst Typhoon that ever happened the history of the world. WHO CAN HANDLE A STORM/WATER SURGE. WHO CAN HANDLE A TSUNAMI – ONLY GOD.

    At the Wakwak Golf Course – “tang – – – – – na”

    Di ba buhay kapa

    Huwag na lang Mar. Remember Gibo is a Harvard Graduate. Very intelligent. He is a Statesman.

    He did not make it. Why? Because he was anointed by Gloria

  3. If not for Butch Abad and his theft tactics, Phils would have been richer by now

  4. Kahindik hindik na majic nanaman ang gagawin nila para makapagnakaw sa kaban ng bayan.

  5. Abad is like a magician, he can conjure up a new scheme to siphon funds. I must admit I am both impressed, yet disgusted by his act.

  6. Samuel Santos on

    No doubt about it. Abad is a genius when it comes to budget management. Saludo po ako sa inyo, sir Butch. Keep up the good work.

    • Fidelindo Llemos on

      Don’t I read, “keep up the BAD work?” Please try if it is possible for you to think RIGHT!

  7. Your “tipping point” forecast, to my mind, is certainly superior in quality than the SWS (Survey na Walang Silbe”) forecasts engineered by the “Machiavellian strategists” of the President Aquino. I like your mention of the “Oracle of Delphi” which is so apt to what is going on in our country, plus your arresting question: “Will President Aquino?” If he won’t, God certainly will, for he hears the cry of the poor; he always takes the side of the helpless and oppressed. The truth is, lie upon which this present administration is founded, will never go any farther. Why so? Because, as an Italian proverb says: “La bugia ha le gambe corte” meaning, “Lie’s legs are short”. Only the truth last, for God is Truth. Go on, Mr. Makabenta, although our weather forecasts seem erratic, your forecast is quite reliable. Kudos!

  8. What’s wrong with working with the Regional Development councils or directly with the LGUs? Working with Mayors is ideal, removing all those red-tape & layers of getting kickbacks…. P15 million each municipality is better than none at all. It aims to empower the LGUs, and let them be held responsible & be scrutinized by their constituents…

    • Bernardo Carpio on

      In a way or in Theory, pwede. But knowing our kapwa Pinoy, hindi mangyayari iyan na walang kapalit ang mga biyayang binibigay nila.

      If they really intend to help the people, they will have to do it the right way by changing the laws in the Constitution first.

    • that would work well if the LGUs are not corrupt themselves or the municipalities. but as we know it, before the Lgus get the money the mayor will get his share, but of course! that is the game and has always been. I just say time for a huge change where all the corrupt people should be shot in luneta. I love that story about a guy who just shot a thief while robbing a girl in a jeepney. Now that is what I call justice.If we don’t act, who will? nobody! our future is in our hands.

    • We should not pre-allocate or set a budget ceiling for each municipality, etc.
      Per region, per province maybe.
      Let them submit proposals and evaluate the proposals.

      Pre-allocating budgets for each municipality for projects subject to the approval of the DILG screams patronage politics. Remember, these LGU already have an IRA for local projects.

      The National government should not be funding small projects. Work on projects that has lasting benefit and wide ranging effect for a region or the country.

  9. Well, they have to come up with a tool to draw the budget. What is important is that the projects are well-chosen and actually implemented and the funds are not siphoned.

    Napakaraming kalsada ang binabakbak at paulit-ulit na ginagawa para magastus lang ang pondo at maka-kickback.

  10. Danny Dingle on

    I believe the concept of BUB is not new. It has its forerruners in similar budgeting concepts like the zero-based budgeting (ZBB) approach which empowered municipal governments to be involved in the budgeting process. Then Budget Minister Jaime C Laya introduced the ZBB innovation, which appeared sound in theory and practice at the time, with honest to goodness line item budgeting. This was replaced by succeeding regimes, and now, it seems that DBM is back to grassroots budgeting with this BUB, but with a different focus as your article suggests: a guise for pork barrell.

  11. If it is against his interest, Pnoy will not listen. He will ask Abad to invent another money-generating scheme that will insure the LP has funds for the 2016 elections.

  12. No matter what Mar Roxas does , even with all the tax payers money he will try to use
    illegally such as the BUB scam – Mar Roxas will NOT win the presidential elections in 2016. All his actions are “self-destruct” . Since the PDAF and the DAP are unpopular and considered unconstitutional – the BUB will also have some legal loopholes that ABAD and ROXAS and PNoy did NOT study thoroughly – this BUB will soon be also declared unconstitutional and Roxas , instead of landing in the presidential palace will also soon land in JAIL instead , with his BUB buddies ABAD and PNoy . Crime does NOT pay !!

  13. this is an absolute shameless act by people in power. Abad should be in that list of people who are sued for graft and corruption or plunder, or the creator of all of these scandal. as a close friend of the president and the person whom Aquino goes to for advice because he has no mind of his own, he can do anything and pnoy says “yes!”. No questions asked. Shall the people act on this? Shall we all march to malacanang to show our disgust? shall we hold small rallies or sit ins in every corner of the Philippines and then move onward together to tell the president and his cohorts how shameless they are? Disgusting, I want to puke!

  14. “In a show of both #ingenuity and #shamelessness, Budget Secretary #ButchAbad is also the father and inventor of BUB. #CrystalClear those two descriptions for #KapalAbad.

  15. Folks, we need the critical press to inform us what is really going on in our country. Broadsheets like The Manila Times, The Standard Today, the Daily Tribune must be spread around. Folks must be educated and alerted about the continued manipulation of public money only to make partisans out of this King PNoy administration. If not stopped, the BUB which just came out recently is another monster invented by this administration for political and personal gain at the expense of public money. This must be stopped before the tentacles of this evil will spread out without public knowledge.

  16. what an insatiable greed has gripped these government siphoning tax monies just to perpetuate themselves in power. these people appear to have no morals at all for the sake of money and power. may God visit them in the midst of their folly and impunity -and reward them in full according to their deeds.