Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno today said that the DILG’s new Assistance to Disadvantaged Municipalities (ADM) program is ‘different’ from the Bottom-Up Budgeting (BuB) program of the previous administration.
Sueno said ADM is quite distinct in terms of its objectives, type of projects, eligibility for funding, projects identification scheme, and budget allocation per local government unit (LGU).
He said that unlike BuB whose main objective is citizen engagement and participation, Assistance to Disadvantaged Municipalities is designed to assist LGUs in strengthening their ability to deliver basic services.
“The Assistance to Disadvantaged Municipalities is anchored on the need to somehow provide fiscal space to municipalities, to allow them not to become too dependent on their Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) and to help LGUs utilize their local resources for other programs and projects,” he said.
Sueno said that under the new program, the local chief executive has to submit a project list culled out from any of the existing plans of the municipality, unlike in the BuB wherein civil society organizations are included in project identification.
“The main trajectory of BuB then was people participation. In Assistance to Disadvantaged Municipalities, we are more concerned in helping the towns address the essential needs of their constituents,” he said.
According to him, the projects eligible for Assistance to Disadvantaged Municipalities assistance include the five basic infrastructure that are most needed in municipalities – access roads, potable water, evacuation centers, sanitation facilities, and small water impounding.
The DILG Secretary also said that the Assistance to Disadvantaged Municipalities, similar to the BuB, also imposes a governance requirement wherein municipal governments have to meet good governance standards prior to the release of funds to them. These standards include passing the good financial housekeeping component of the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) and completion of assessment of its Public Financial Management System.
He said that although not all of the 1,373 out of the total 1,489 municipalities in the country covered under the program may be considered ‘disadvantaged’, the Assistance to Disadvantaged Municipalities looks at the magnitude of poverty in the area and not just at the baseline income of the municipalities.
The DILG Chief also stressed that there is no duplication or repetition of projects under the ADM program with other national government agencies, noting that the P19.4 billion budget being proposed for ADM is for projects that are within the scope of implementation of the DILG.