Pursuant to National Budget Memorandum (NBM) No. 129 or the National Budget Call for FY 2019 dated January 3, 2018, the RDC VIII-Development Administration Committee (DAC) met on March 2, 2018. This was to sync with the schedule of the RDC VIII budget review set in the NBM, which called for another round of review of the RDC VIII-endorsed priority programs and projects (PPs) of the agencies for FY 2019. The review resulted in the revision and/or identification of additional PPs for inclusion in the final FY 2019 budget proposals of agencies and state universities and colleges.

The proposed PhP55 million budget of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) VIII for its priority PPs, endorsed by the RDC VIII Full Council in the last quarter of 2017, was increased to PhP2.3 billion. The increase is due to the inclusion of local water supply projects to be implemented under the agency’s Sagana at Ligtas na Tubig sa Lahat (SAINTUBIG) Program. The addition is pursuant to DBM Circular Letter No. 2018-5 dated February 20, 2018, which directs inclusion of local projects in key programs of national line agencies that cannot be funded using local funds. Another additional program of the DILG VIII is the Construction of Local Government Operations Center (LGOC) at PhP556 million.

DILG VIII Regional Director Marivel C. Sacendoncillo said that these PPs are in line with the DILG’s key priority thrusts to ensure local and national plan harmonization and complementation. She said these will also enable LGUs in the region improve their performance and deliver services to their constituents effectively and efficiently.

On the other hand, the Police Regional Office (PRO) VIII’s fifty-two (52) FY 2019 priority PPs, endorsed by the RDC VIII Full Council in the last quarter of 2017, had been reduced to forty-five (45). In terms of amount, however, the revised PPs resulted in an increase of PhP244 million from the original PhP238 million.

These revised PPs were found responsive to the PNP’s key priority thrusts to ensure security, public order and safety through the enhanced police services, particularly the implementation of information and education campaigns, community organization and mobilization, and police-community partnerships.

Meanwhile, the PDEA VIII, BJMP VIII, NEDA VIII and DOJ PPA VIII resubmitted their priority PPs without any changes.

In addition, the Committee also endorsed, for RDC VIII action, the following resolutions: RDC VIII-DAC Resolution No. 7, s. 2018, entitled “Recommending RDC VIII Support to RDC I Resolution No. 73, Series of 2017, for the Creation of Cooperatives Officer for the LGUs which have Adequate Personal Services (PS) Fund and the Designation of Cooperatives Officer for the LGUs, Otherwise”; RDC VIII-DAC Resolution No. 8-A, s. 2018, entitled “Recommending RDC VIII Support to House Bill No. 630, entitled ‘An Act Creating the Philippine Center for Autism and for Other Purposes’”; RDC VIII-DAC Resolution No. 8-B, s. 2018, entitled “Recommending RDC VIII Support to House Bill No. 1071, entitled ‘An Act Granting Additional Benefits and Privileges to Senior Citizens, Further Amending RA No. 9994, as Amended, Otherwise Known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010’”; and RDC VIII-DAC Resolution No. 9, s. 2018, entitled “Recommending to the RDC VIII to Request the Department of Health Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (DOH-TRC) in Dulag, Leyte to Assess the Male Youth Offenders Apprehended by the PDEA VIII in the Region.”

During the meeting, the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, PRO VIII and PDEA VIII also reported on the Eastern Visayas (EV) Security Situation, EV Peace and Order Situation and EV Drug Situation, respectively.

Sitting as Committee Chair and Presiding Officer, DBM VIII Regional Director Imelda C. Laceras emphasized that the FY 2019 budget will be adopting an annual cash-based budgeting, wherein agencies can only incur contractual obligations and disburse payments for goods delivered and services rendered within the fiscal year, with an extended payment period of three months. This means approved budgets should be spent within the year, otherwise it will be reverted to the National Treasury.

The meeting was the last meeting Director Laceras presided as Committee Chair since the good Director will be transferred to the DBM Regional Office VII effective April 2, 2018, pursuant to DBM Department Order No. 3, s. 2018, entitled “Reassignment of Regional Directors” dated February 5, 2018.

Director Laceras served as RDC VIII-DAC Chair for four (4) consecutive terms from her appointment by then RDC VIII Chair Mayor Mel Senen S. Sarmiento of Calbayog City in 2007, reappointed by RDC VIII Chair Governor Carlos Jericho L. Petilla of the Province of Leyte in 2011 and his successor RDC VIII Chair Governor Leopoldo Dominico L. Petilla of Leyte in 2014. She was then reappointed by the current RDC VIII Chair Mayor Cristina G. Romualdez of Tacloban City in 2017.

Matthew B. Añosa, PDIPBD, NEDA VIII