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A mere 12% of Eastern Visayas suggested projects implementation-ready

Only 400 of the 5,000 priority projects for 2023 submitted to the Eastern Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC) for endorsement have complete papers, an official of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said on Wednesday.

DBM Eastern Visayas Regional Director Imelda Laceras, chair of the RDC’s development administration committee, said the number only reflects 12 percent of the overall projects sent by various agencies, local governments, and tertiary schools to the RDC.

“There is a disconnect in the budget preparation process since there are no attached detailed plans to some proposed projects. At the national level, several regions compete for limited funds of the government. Proposals without linked plans are deemed as least priority,” Laceras told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) (PNA).

Despite missing or incomplete documents, the RDC approved all projects; however, central offices of agencies are urged to monitor the specific plans and offer assistance to finish the documents.

“In the past two years, the RDC has been bringing improvements in the process through the conduct of a regional planning forum every year. We have been telling interested agencies that if these are the regional goals, we have to prepare all needed documents,” Laceras stated.

He added the ongoing organizational weakness inside national government organizations and the state universities and colleges inhibit their ability to implement programs and projects well and rapidly.

In its latest monitoring report, the DBM regional office claimed that the PHP30.21 billion budget of national government agencies in Eastern Visayas remains undisbursed as of the first quarter of 2022, representing 81 percent of the total obligated monies since last year.

Records indicate that just 45% of the RDC-endorsed budget requests for certain infrastructure projects have been included in the General Appropriations Act between 2016 and 2022.

The underspending, non-utilization, or lapsing of funds and low batting average could have resulted in the loss of possibilities for the socio-economic development of the region.

The RDC-endorsed budget proposals were determined to have a low batting average against the General Appropriations Act, calculated at roughly 45 percent for selected proposed infrastructure projects from 2016 to 2022 based on monitoring reports.

According to Laceras, the RDC’s approval ratio of funded projects to those that have been requested is known as the “batting average.”

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