Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (GPB) –
Participatory Local Governance at Work

We, civil society organizations (CSOs), who have participated in and supported the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (GPB) Process, formerly known as Bottom Up Budgeting (BUB), and who value participatory and accountable governance, poverty reduction and national development express our full support for the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process.

Our experience with the GPB in many municipalities and cities since 2012 shows that GPB puts together the important elements of people empowerment, decentralization and poverty reduction. It is a process and a mechanism that promotes people’s participation in governance and CSO engagements with local government units.

In the GPB, an inclusive and broad self-selection process in the CSO Assemblies in each locality determines the CSO representatives to the Local Poverty Reduction Action Teams (LPRATs). The LPRATs, composed of both LGU and CSO representatives, discuss and propose priority poverty reduction projects based on their analysis of the poverty situation in the area. The LPRATs submit these projects to the Regional Poverty Reduction Action Teams (RPRATs) for review and validation. The RPRATs then forward these to the concerned national government agencies for inclusion in their proposed budgets.

For 2014, 20.1 billion pesos of the budget in the approved General Appropriations Act (GAA) was allocated for the GPB projects in 1,226 towns and cities identified through this transparent, open and participatory GPB process. Since last year, important local poverty reduction projects identified by local CSOs and LGUs based on their needs have been supported by the national government through the GPB.

The GPB is not another form of pork barrel. It is not a discretionary lump sum fund decided upon by a legislator or a government official based on unclear criteria and process. The GPB is in fact the exact opposite of a pork barrel fund. The GPB is an empowering process where citizens identify, jointly with the local government officials, specific priority projects that would address the poverty situation in their area and they together ask the national government to provide funds for these projects.

The GPB is also not being used to support government officials identified to be allies of the Administration. The GPB was piloted in municipalities identified through clear poverty related criteria and in its current cycle (for the 2015 budget) already includes all municipalities and cities of the country.

The GPB is in line with the 1987 Constitution and the Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991. Our Constitution guarantees the right of citizens to participate in governance. The LGC also supports the important role of CSOs in local governance

Having engaged in the GPB, we also know that there are still many areas for improvement of its policies and especially in its implementation on the ground. However, realizing its value and potential for promoting people empowerment and poverty reduction, we have been working with government to address these concerns and we commit to helping improve the GPB. We call on the government to urgently and effectively implement measures to further improve the GPB.

We call on all CSOs and communities to study closely and discuss the GPB and prepare for the upcoming GPB 2016 cycle.

We also urge that the GPB be institutionalized and sustained through legislation, executive/department orders and strong government inter-agency and government-CSO structures and mechanisms.

Let us support and sustain GPB, an important reform initiative towards participatory and effective anti-poverty budgeting.

National and Regional CSO Networks and Alliances
Association of Foundations (AF)
Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO)
Central Visayas Network (CENVISNET)
Change Politics Movement (CPM)
Cordillera Network of Development NGOs and POs (CORDNET)
Coalition for Bicol Development (CBD)
Eastern Visayas Network of NGOs and POs (EVNET)
Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO Networks (MINCODE)
Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA)
People’s Coalition for ARMM Reform and Transformation (People’s CART)
Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA)
Ugnayang Lakas ng mga Apektadong Pamilya ng Baybayin Ilog Pasig at Tributaries (ULAP) – Metro Manila
Urban Poor Alliance (UPALL)
Western Visayas Network (WEVNet)
Provincial/City CSO Networks/Alliances and Local CSOs
Action Group – Rodriguez
Antique Federation of NGOs (AFON)
Center for Social Concerns and Development (CESCOD)
Change Politics Movement (CPM) – Zamboanga del Norte
Citizen’s Volunteer Assembly – Bukidnon PPVR
Community Organizers Multiversity (COM) sa Mindanaw
Ifugao Network of Development NGOs and POs (IFNET)
Iloilo Caucus of Development NGO Networks (ICODE)
International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGov)
Local Council of Women – Dipolog Chapter
Maguindanao Network of Organizations (MAGNETO)
People Power Volunteers for Reform (PPVR) – Antipolo
People Power Volunteers for Reform – Taytay
Provincial Alliance of NGOs and POs for Development, Inc. (PANGOPOD)
Ugnayang Lakas ng mga Apektadong Pamilya ng Baybayin Ilog Pasig at Tributaries (ULAP) – Manila City

4 August 2014

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