The Regional Development Council (RDC) XI confirmed the PHP 246.6 billion FY 2023 Budget Proposal for Davao Region and endorsed the request of the Davao Region SUCs to increase the regional budget allocation during the CY 2022 1st Quarter Regular Meeting at NEDA-RDC XI Center, Bangkal, Davao City on March 15, 2022 through a hybrid virtual and face-to-face setup.

The Council confirmed the RDC XI ExCom reviewed FY 2023 Budget Proposals of 48 Agency Regional Offices (AROs), State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), and Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) in Davao Region, with the total amount of PHP 246,622,855,574.54. In addition, Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) XI requested the RDC XI to help them lobby the increase the budget allocation of Region XI and for the Budget Priorities Framework to be released earlier, specifically, before the calls for budget proposals.

Of the total endorsed budget proposal, Infrastructure Development Sector has the highest share at PHP 132.46 billion, followed by the Social Development Sector at PHP 81.064 billion, Economic Development sector at PHP 26.775 billion and Development Administration sector at PHP 6.323 billion. The budget proposals for FY 2023 excluded the PAPs which shall be devolved to the Local Government Units (LGUs) and are expected to be funded by the LGUs in light with the Supreme Court Ruling of the Mandanas-Garcia petitions.

Among the endorsed budget proposals, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) XI had the biggest share at PHP 112.9 billion, followed by the Department of Education (DepEd) XI with PHP 42.0 billion, the Department of Agriculture (DA) XI with PHP 17.2 billion, the Department of Transportation for Davao Region with 17.1 billion, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) XI with PHP 10.8 billion. The combined amounts proposed by these agencies comprise of around 81 percent of the total budget proposals for Davao Region.

The Davao Region’s endorsed budget proposals for FY 2023 include new and expanded major capital projects which cost over PHP 2.5 billion under Tier 2, viz: farm-to-market road development program of DA XI; and construction of national and local roads, diversion roads, bypasses, national bridges, flyovers, as well as, various infrastructure projects in support of national security of DPWH XI. The cultural information hub, cultural village, and heritage development projects of Department of Tourism XI were also included in the FY 2023 budget proposal amounting to PHP 1.5 billion.

After the presentation of FY 2023 Budget Proposals endorsed by RDC XI ExCom, the head of PASUC XI Dr. Lourdes C. Generalao presented the request of Davao Region SUCs for an increase of budget allocation compared to the National Government Budget Allocation. Dr. Generalao said “…over the years, even before 2016, it has been a long-standing observation that SUCs in Region XI consistently ranked among the lowest, if not the lowest in terms of National Budget Allocation.” Dr. Generalao also stated that Davao Region SUCs received a lower budget share than the comparable regions like CAR.

Davao Region SUCs also requested the RDC XI to lobby for the earlier release of the Budget Priorities Framework (BPF). In FY 2022, Davao Region had the lowest Budget Allocation for SUCs with a budget decrease of 19%. Per PASUC XI, DBM XI shared that out of 152 Capital Outlay projects proposed by the Davao Region SUCs for inclusion in the FY 2022 GAA, only 13 aligned with the BPF, and that BPF was only made known to SUCs only after have prepared their Budget Proposals.

Shem Rufus Q. Sentones, NEDA XI