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JAGNA – The Local Government Unit of Jagna invited 75 civil society groups to a Municipal Basic Sector/Civil Society Organizations Assembly last January 24, 2013 at the Capt. Gregorio Casenas Hall. The assembly is the first step among a series of steps for municipalities who are participating in the 2014 bottom-up planning and budgeting (BuB).

The BuB seeks to empower local communities, stakeholders and link them with the national government. It is a process towards achieving participatory budgeting to target specific needs of localities. Instead of the national government dictating to the local governments what projects to implement without consulting the needs, the concept of bottom-up budgeting is the direct opposite. National government will finance the specific needs of the each local government. The needs will be identified thru the participatory process wherein a team composed of 50 percent from the local government and 50% from the local civil society organizations to form the Local Poverty Reduction Action Team (LPRAT) and discuss among themselves the needs and priorities of the municipality.

The municipal civil society assembly had the following objectives: to convene all CSOs who intend to participate in the forthcoming BuB 2014; to consolidate their collective efforts towards more effective participation in key local governance processes; and to arrive at a common engagement and action with their respective local government units.

Ms. Doris Obena of the National Anti-Poverty Commissioned facilitated the assembly. She introduced the BuB centering on the background of the program, its purpose, coverage, the beneficiaries, most importantly the guidelines (processes, set national development priorities) so as not to veer away from the millenium development goals; roles and responsibilities.

The civil society assembly elected their representatives to form the 50 percent of the LPRAT. The other 50 percent comes from the government. The LPRAT was created thru Executive Order No. 1 Series of 2013. The LPRAT will meet on February 4, 2013 to embark on the next step on the BuB.

CSO representative-elect Engr. Cruza Bagatsolon expressed her support to the initiative saying that it is high time for the government to seek out the basic sector and include in the planning to be able to truly target the needs. She encouraged her members to support the local government unit in its efforts.