P16,000 for Marikina’s barangays?

For P16,000, a local government unit (LGU) can purchase 1,600 ball pens for all of its employees or 40 packs of relief goods for its evacuees every time calamity strikes, but not a rescue boat.

The same amount is allocated in the so-called ‘barangay development fund’ which was included in the budget of the city government of Marikina for the year 2013. The approved budget amounted to over P1.626 billion.

Ordinance 076, series of 2012, which a copy was personally obtained, showed that this was the lowest amount among all the others lined up under the city’s potential maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) for 2013.

Meanwhile, the other amounts under the said category went by hundreds of thousands to hundreds of millions of pesos. The city library had P490,800 worth of MOOE, while the mayor’s office had over P186 million.

Jose Fabian Cadiz, MD, the city’s vice mayor and presiding officer of the 6th city council which approved the budget in December 2012, explained that the P16,000 worth of aid from the city government, or P1,000 to each of its 16 barangays, is not limited to the said cost.

Besides, he added, each barangay here has its own budget which is generated from their shares in the city’s internal revenue allotment (IRA) and real property taxes, and from income-generating activities such as various barangay certificates and records.

The income of the 16 barangays here can be estimated from P7 million to P24 million annually. Of the said projected incomes, about 20% would be spent for barangay development projects, including construction of new public buildings, and maintenance of drainages and sidewalks.

The city’s budget office explained further that the P1,000 aid of the local government to the barangay was always being integrated to the annual budget of the barangay.

“I assume this has been released, and been utilized for the good of Marikeños,” Cadiz said.

Moreover, Section 324, Paragraph (c) of Republic Act (RA) 7160, or the country’s local government code, states that “(i)n the case of provinces, cities and municipalities, aid to component barangays shall be provided in amounts of not less that P1,000 per barangay.”

The Legal Office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) told that there has been no amendment proposed to the said provision since RA 7160 was passed in 1991.

Meanwhile, the Department of Budget and Management explained that “(t)he aid to barangays in the amount of not less than P1,000 per barangay may be increased subject to the discretion and availability of funds of the province/city/ municipality. ”

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