The Caraga Regional Development Council (RDC) endorsed PhP225.06 billion proposed budgets for fiscal year 2019 during its 93rd Full Council Meeting at the Provincial Convention Center, Surigao City.

The said budget represents the 2019 proposed budgets of 31 regional line agencies (RLAs) and five state colleges and universities (SUCs) of the region. The proposed budgets adhere to the guidelines and priorities set in the National Budget Memorandum 129 and region-specific guidelines and priorities set in the Regional Budget Call for FY2019.

About 79% of the total endorsed budget came from the Infrastructure Sector amounting to PhP177.43 billion, of which PhP170.83 billion is proposed by the Department of Public Works and Highways and PhP 6.20 billion is proposed by the National Irrigation Administration.

The Social Sector has a proposed budget of PhP40.97 billion with the Department of Education posting the highest proposed budget of PhP24.79 billion, followed by the Department of Social and Welfare Development with proposed budget of PhP6.47 billion and the Department of Health with proposed budget of PhP4.15 billion.

Meanwhile, the Economic Sector has a proposed budget of PhP5.52 billion with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources having the biggest proposed budget of PhP1.82 billion.

The Development Administration Sector has a budget of PhP1.14 billion with the Philippine National Police contributing the biggest share of 0.28 percent.

The endorsement came after a rigorous process of consultations with different stakeholders including civil society organizations (CSOs). Besides deliberations in the four sectoral committees, the Caraga RDC conducted a Budget Forum and a Budget Consultation with CSOs and the Private Sector on January 26 and February 7, 2018, respectively.

During the consultations, the RLAs and SUCs presented their respective budgets to the CSOs and NGOs to generate comments and recommendations.

Further, the FY 2019 RDC-endorsed agency budget proposal was presented to the Caraga RDC Advisory Committee on May 8, 2018 to ensure alignment between the RDC priorities and the Congressional development agenda.

Caraga Region has an RDC-endorsed budget for fiscal year 2019 of PhP225,058,905,730. Eighteen percent of which is appropriated for social development, 79% for infrastructure development, 2.5% for economic development, and 0.5% for development administration.

The Department of Public Works and Highways has the biggest budget among agencies with 76% share followed by the Department of Education with 11% share, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development with 3% share.

The Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) got the lowest proposed budget of PhP16.10 million.

Hazel O. Fuentes, NEDA-Caraga