Politics derails Samar town’s bottom-up budgeting projects

CALBAYOG CITY, Samar, Nov. 23 (PNA) – The implementation of projects under the Bottoms-Up- Budgeting (BUB) proposed by civil society organizations (CSO) for 2014 and 2015 in the town of Sta. Margarita this province has been delayed.

Myla Nicolasora, BUB focal person for Samar province disclosed that the Sta. Margarita local government unit (LGU) declined to enter into tripartite memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Samar provincial government due to political differences between the governor and the mayor.

Sta. Margarita Mayor Gemma Zosa’s huband, Emil is running for governor against incumbent Sharee Ann Tan. Zosa was then an ally of the ruling Tan clan in the province, but for some unknown reasons they parted ways after the 2013 elections.

According to Nicolasora, funds for project implementation cannot be downloaded to the said town since they did not pass the Seal of Good Housekeeping.

Since the provincial government got the seal, the LGU may enter into a tripartite MOA with the provincial government as the implementing partner.

Zosa, in an interview admitted that they declined to enter into a deal with the province because they don’t have good political relationship with the governor. She thinks that the projects will not be properly implemented with the governor as their partner.

According to her, they were given an option by the DILG on the projects implementation and they opted to partner directly with the agency concerned on their proposed projects, like the DILG.

“We were given an option by the DILG on how we will implement these projects, and I opted not to go with a tripartite,” Zosa said.

Zosa assured the people of Sta. Margarita that her administration is doing what is need to be done to ensure that CSO-initiated projects will be implemented.

“We are just waiting for the MOA directly with the agency and hopefully projects will be implemented before the end of this year,” she added.

Eastern Visayas Network of NGOs and POs (EVNET) Regional Project Coordinator Gina Dean Ragudo, who is part of the BUB projects monitoring group, said in a text message that DILG funded projects are only covered of the tripartite agreement as mode of implementation.

According to her, funds are downloaded to the provincial government if it is qualified or able to meet the governance conditions.

“Since Samar province has a Seal of Good Housekeeping, it can implement projects on behalf of the city or municipal government units. With the case of Sta. Margarita the funds for their BUB projects funded by DA will be downloaded to the province if the mayor will sign a MOA, if not the funds will not be downloaded,” Ragudo said.

“According to DA, they do not implement projects due to lack of manpower, and they are just following the guidelines in the Joint Memorandum Circular,” she added.

Still pending for implementation for Sta. Margarita town is the Php25 million worth of CSO-initiated projects for 2014 and Php12.5 million for 2015. Both are funded by BUB.

Most of these projects are under the Department of Agriculture, Department of Social Welfare and Development and DILG.

Meanwhile, Governor Sharee Ann Tan, in an interview, said that aside from Sta. Margarita, the town of Jiabong also declined to enter the tripartite MOA.

Tan said that with the BUB, the province is just a mere custodian since projects are fully initiated in the town level through their CSOs.

Tan stressed that what is important is not to consider the political affiliation of the local chief executives is that projects will be properly implemented as to the need and request by the community.

“What is important for me even if we are from different parties is that the projects will be properly implemented in the community,” Tan said.

“With Sta. Margarita and Jiabong, it is the prerogative of the mayor, but I hope they will realize that they were not the one that will be affected, but the people who will benefit these projects,” she added.

Tan further said that they did not encounter any problems in entering into a tripartite MOA with other LGUs. Both parties agreed to set aside politics to ensure that projects will be implemented.

She also stressed that during the implementation, the LGU will also be checking on the progress of the project since they have their representative to look into it.

“The other mayors although we are not politically affiliated, we set aside the issues and agreed to work together to make sure the project will be properly implemented, because what is important are the people who will benefit the project,” Tan said.

“During the implementation the LGUs has engineers, BUB focal person as their representatives and if there is a problem on the conduct of the projects’ execution they can call our attention anytime after all it is their projects,” Tan stressed. (PNA)