The MIMAROPA Regional Development Council (RDC), through its sectoral committees, reviewed the fiscal year (FY) 2022 proposed budgets of the 46 regional line agencies (RLAs), state universities and colleges (SUCs), and government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) during the RDC sectoral committee special meetings held virtually through Zoom on January 12 to 15.

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The RDC budget review and consultation aimed  to ensure that the programs, activities, and projects (PAPs) proposed by the agency regional offices (AROs) and SUCs are consistent with the regional development investment program (RDIP) approved by the RDC, and supportive of the development thrusts and priorities of the current administration and the region.

In his opening remarks, RDC Chairperson and Romblon Governor Jose R. Riano said that the annual RDC budget review exercise strengthens the vertical linkage between national and regional/ local development plans and ensure that the PAPs for inclusion in the agency budget proposals support the attainment of the regional development goals and objectives. He requested the support of the MIMAROPA Congressmen and their chiefs of staff during the Congress budget hearings, to ensure that the region will get an equitable share from the national budget for FY 2022.

Moreover, he stressed that the region has been advocating for the increase in the share of MIMAROPA’s budget to the national agencies for so long. He also reminded that FY 2022 is not only an election year but also a year where LGUs  would commence to assume greater responsibilities in terms of implementing devolved PAPs or functions relative to the full implementation of Mandanas-Garcia Case Ruling. He added that there is a need to capacitate the local agencies to be able to perform the devolved functions effectively as the LGUs are expected to be involved in financing development programs and facilitating synergy in the implementation of national and local measures. Lastly, he urged everyone to actively participate in the deliberation of the proposed budgets by providing comments, inputs, and recommendations to improve the agency budget proposals.

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Mr. Alvin A. Amil of the Department of Budget and Management  Local Government and Regional Coordination Bureau (DBM-LGRCB) and Ms. Ma. Eunice R. Delos Santos of DBM Regional Office MIMAROPA discussed the salient features of the draft executive order (EO) directing the full devolution of certain functions of the executive branch to local governments as a result of the Supreme Court ruling on the Mandanas-Garcia case. To further understand the regional guidelines in the preparation of the FY 2022 budget proposals, Ms. Anna Roneliza M. Cena of DBM MIMAROPA presented the salient features of the National Budget Call for FY 2022. Meanwhile, an assessment of the agency budget utilization rates for FYs 2019 and 2020 as well as the status of FY 2021 RDC endorsed projects were prepared and presented by the NEDA MIMAROPA Secretariat.

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The regional directors (RDs) or assistant RDs  and SUC presidents presented their respective budget proposals to the sectoral committee members and the budget review panel. The review panel is composed of  RDC Chairperson and Romblon Governor Jose R. Riano; Acting RDC Vice-Chairperson and OIC-RD Susan A. Sumbeling of the NEDA Regional Office in  MIMAROPA; Marinduque Governor Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr.; DBM  MIMAROPA Assistant RD  Rodrigo M. Marquez; representatives of the provincial and city governments; chiefs of staff of MIMAROPA district representatives; and RDC private sector representatives (PSRs).

The proposed FY 2022 PAPs of the agencies considered the following concerns of the region: (a) establishment of a regional office in the designated regional government center; (b) PAPs for the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa  Program; (c) PAPs to end local communist armed conflict; and (d) devolved PAPs or functions under the Local Government Code in relation to the implementation of Supreme Court ruling on the Mandanas-Garcia case.

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The sectoral committees recommended RDC endorsement of the FY 2022 budget proposals of RLAs, SUCs, and GOCCs subject to revisions based on the comments of the panel and committee members. The proposed budget proposals will be presented to the MIMAROPA RDC Full Council meeting on March 05, 2021 for endorsement to their respective agency central offices (ACOs) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for SUCs, for inclusion in the FY 2022 agency budget proposals.

The members of the four sectoral committees also raised their comments, concerns, and issues relative to the draft EO on the Supreme Court ruling on Mandanas-Garcia case to be considered in the finalization of the EO.