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Despite the allegations hurled by the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay against the ruling Liberal Party and its standard bearer Mar Roxas of using government funds and resources, particularly the Bottom-Up Budgeting (BuB), in pushing their political agenda, a staggering P1.83 billion worth of BUB funds have been allocated to Central Visayas, with Cebu getting the lion’s share of the budget for the implementation of their projects as the main center of commerce, industry, and trade in the Visayas.
Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio Abad announced during his visit to the capital of Region VII for the Barangay BuB consultations.
Abad said that Cebu City will benefit from a rapid community-based monitoring system (CBMS), a big-ticket BuB project amounting to P19.2 million.
The CBMS is an organized process of data-collection and -processing at the local level, with the data to be integrated in local planning, program implementation, and impact monitoring.
“Projects like this will help LGUs make informed decisions and draft policies on the programs they need. This is an important element in the government’s push for meaningful devolution, and will also help empower communities who participate in this process,” Abad said.
Of the P1.83 billion allotted to Region VII for the 844 projects in the 2016 national budget, Cebu will get P1 billion for 426 projects.
Earlier, the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) accused the administration of President Aquino and the dominant Liberal Party (LP) of using BUBs to help Mar Roxas in his bid for the presidency.
UNA said “extreme reckless tactics” are being employed by dangling P100 billion of government funds to influence local executives through the Bottom Up Budgeting (BuB) program which UNA said had turned into the “Bribe ur Barangay” scheme.
“It has become obvious that the objectives of the BUB had departed from its original aim of people participation in the national budget. It seems that the government’s budget is now being employed by the administration party for vote buying,” UNA spokesman Mon Ilagan said.
Since 2013, Central Visayas has received a total of P5.29 billion in BuB funds for 3,396 projects with Cebu getting P3.05 billion for 1,827 projects. Central Visayas is composed of three provinces: Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor. The province of Cebu has three highly urbanized cities: Cebu City, Mandaue City, and Lapu-Lapu City.
Though Cebu received majority of the BuB funds for this year, Bohol received four out of the five big-ticket projects, which include road construction projects, a potable water supply system, and an evacuation center. These were in the Bohol municipalities of Anda, Loboc, Pilar and Sierra Bullones.
“This program is completely new to many local government units and is the first initiative in the world of this magnitude. Many of the LGUs involved in the program are experiencing it for the first time. While the processes we’re introducing are taking some time to take root, we’re confident they’ll make a difference at the grassroots level,” Abad said.
“The fact that these LGUs are going through the process — in close collaboration with civil society organizations and the communities they represent — is already a huge gain. If we’re serious about the pursuit of empowerment and genuine autonomy of these local governments, we need to give them the time they need,” the budget chief added. 

Muslim Senate bet condemns grenade blast in Cotabato

Friday, 19 February 2016 00:00 Published in Nation

Senatorial candidate Nariman “Ina” Ambolodto yesterday condemned the grenade throwing incident at the Cotabato City offices of non-government organizations working for displaced families in Maguindanao Tuesday night.
Ambolodto also urged police to arrest the perpetrators to assure the public of their safety especially with the coming May 9 national and local elections.
Cotabato City police have identified the suspects who lobbed a hand grenade toward the offices of Central Mindanao Youth Center and Mindanao Tulong Bakwit along Anacleto Badoy Street, Barangay Poblacion 2, Cotabato City. at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
No casualty was reported in the attack but an ambulance, parked inside the compound, was slightly damaged.
Ambolodto is the ruling party’s lone Muslim senatorial bet in the May 9 elections.
She said it was the task of the government and its agencies, especially the security sector, to ensure the safety of all.
“The protection of our people is a prime duty of the government. Our security forces have the accountability, competencies and capacity to provide security to the lives, liberty and property of our citizens,” Ambolodto stressed.
She said peace would only succeed in Mindanao if authorities could also ensure the safety of Filipinos.
“While we push for the peace process and seek to cultivate an enabling environment for the implementation of our peace agreements, we must also intensify efforts to deny space to lawlessness and violence. Our people deserve to live in peace,” Ambolodto said.
“Our generation in Mindanao has already gone through the ravages of war. There is no need for our children to go through the same terror of conflict. We must have peace, now!” she added.

Since the forthcoming match will be held within the campaign period for the May polls, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will study if there are possible violations of campaign rules that may be committed during the boxing fight of senatorial aspirant and boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao and American boxer Timothy Bradley on April 10 (Manila time).
According to Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista, they are examining details of the event and its coverage that are against the provisions of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) on the Fair Elections Act.
“We have to look at the Fair Elections Act as well as rules on campaign expenses. These are the related issues,” he said in an interview.
But, Bautista noted that in the event that violations are committed, the commission cannot motu proprio file a case, a complainant should initiate it.
“We might be faulted on ‘why are we picking on him?’ We all know that he is a national figure and he has brought pride and glory to the country. It would be better if there is a complaint if there is anyone who thinks that the laws are being violated,” the poll body chief explained.
Comelec Resolution No. 10049 does not allow “to show, display, or exhibit publicly in a theatre, through a television station, or any public forum any movie, cinematography or documentary, including concert or any type of performance portraying the life or biography of a candidate, or in which a character is portrayed by an actor or media personality, who is himself or herself a candidate.”
Likewise, it is prohibited “for any radio, television, cable television station, announcer or broadcaster to allow the scheduling of any program or permit any sponsor to manifestly favor or oppose any candidate or party by unduly or repeatedly referring to or unnecessarily mentioning his name, including said candidate or party.”
Comelec rules provide that candidates and registered political parties for a national elective position are allowed not more than a total of 120 minutes of television advertising, on a per station basis, whether appearing on national, regional, or local, free or cable television, and 180 minutes of radio advertising, on a per station basis, whether airing on national, regional, or local radio, whether by purchase or donation.                       


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