When lump sums affect barangays
MANILA - Barangays should be taught how to do budgeting in order to reflect the national government's bid for transparency and accountability, a political analyst said Monday.
"It is a good idea to have planning and budgeting down to the barangay level. Except, there has to be a way that barangays are empowered to make these plans and budget consistent with the programs of action of the government,” political analyst Edmund Tayao told ANC.
He said that with municipalities and cities having jurisdiction over these small local government units, the attitude becomes “bahala ka na (It’s up to you how you’ll spend the budget)."
“Until the [budget plans] happen, it’s like you had lump sum appropriations," he said.
Lump sums in the national budget have become a cause of controversy because of the alleged scandal involving lawmakers' pork barrel funds. Some pundits believe pork barrel is needed in times of disasters, such as that of the President’s calamity fund.
Tayao said accountability now becomes an issue in barangays. "For example, there is little organization among residents in the barangay to tell their leaders to take action or be transparent.”
He said people tend to become “mahiyain [bashful]”.
Within a small village, the people tend to know each and every one.
He added there is also a mix of “poor, very low middle class, middle class, et al” in these units that “you really do not know who are interested in what’s happening in the barangay.”
Tayao also said people fail to understand that barangays have always been politically partisan, contrary to what has been described in the Local Government Code.
“The barangay itself is part of the political machine in a way that bigger political figures use in terms of mustering support, organizing interests,” he said.
“There’s no such thing as non-partisan,” he added.