Tuesday, January 30, 2007

RP ranks 6th in gender equality.

Here's an encouraging report taken from the December issue of the DBM Bulletin. In a survey conducted by the World Economic Forum (WEF) of 115 countries worldwide, the Philippines came out number 6 and the only Asian country on the top 10 - that have managed to achieve equality between the sexes.

Not surprisingly, Scandinavian countries topped the gender equality survey with Sweden at the number 1 spot followed by Norway, Finland and Iceland. Germany, another European country is at fifth place while powerful countries like Great Britain and the United States rank ninth and 22nd, respectively. On the other hand, two countries with biggest gender gaps are Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

The survey measured the countries using four categories: economic, educational, political and health. On the average, according to the WEF, the countries surveyed had closed about 90 percent of the gender gap in education and health, but only 50 percent in economic participation and opportunity, and 15 percent in political empowerment. Sweden, the topnotcher is the only country that has managed to close the overall gender gap by more than 80 percent.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

IRA is no longer erratic, part 2

This is an addendum to my earlier post about the Internal Revenue Allotment of LGUs in which I wrote that with the passage of RA 9358 (Supplemental Budget for FY 2006), the IRA is treated as automatic appropriation, which means that even without the current national budget (GAA), the IRA will be computed and released to LGUs at the level that they are entitled to pursuant to the Local Government Code.

History repeats itself and we are starting the year with a reenacted budget - but not the IRA. The DBM has just released a computation of the LGUs' IRA based on the level of Php 183.938 B which is the figure reflected in the 2007 National Expenditures Program - equivalent to 40% of the national internal revenue collections of the third preceding fiscal year.

Thus the IRA releases starting January will now be made on the said computation and the LGUs are assured of the windfall.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Regional "BOMB" Trainors Training slated January 15-18

The DBMRO VI Trainors Team will conduct the Regional Trainors and Facilitators Training on the roll-out of the Budget Operations Manual for Barangays (BOMB) on January 15-16 and 17-18. Venue is at the Punta Villa Resort.

These series of two-day trainings will be participated by the City/Municipal Finance Committees members (Budget Officers, Treasurers and Planning and Development Coordinators) and Accountants. Pursuant to Local Budget Circular No. 82, the regional trainors and facilitators will assist the DBM Team in the conduct of simultaneous trainings and workshops for barangays officials right after the October 2007 barangay elections.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Reenacting the Reenacted in the Year of the Pig!

Today, January 2nd is the start of official working hours in the bureaucracy for fiscal year 2007. I don't know much about chinese astrology but year 2007 is universally considered as the "Year of the Fire Boar or Pig" (Ding Hai in Chinese)which according to Feng Shui experts, is characterized by clashing elements, fire and water that could mean conflict and even illness.

I don't mean to paint an unrosy picture at this start of the year - I'm no Madam Auring or Paul Ng - but we already experience the so-called clashing of the elements in the bureaucracy with Congress not coming to terms on whose preferences would prevail over the national budget even before the Year of the Pig unfolds. Thus we commence the fiscal year with a reenacted budget so as not to disrupt government operations and delivery of essential services.

The DBM has issued towards the last working day of December 2006, a guideline on the releases of funds for January 2007. Sad to say, we are again reverting to piece meal releases instead of the much desired comprehensive one that marks the so-called predictability of funding.

The releases are computed at one twelfth (1/12) of the total Personal Services excluding Productivity Incentive Benefits, Clothing Allowance, Year-end Benefits, and lump sums for creation of positions - based on the level of the agencies' budget in the 2007 National Expenditure Program (NEP). Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses are likewise computed at one-twelfth (1/12) of the agencies' budget level in the NEP. For retirement benefits, the DBM will continue to process and release the funds as submitted. In the case of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of LGUs, the January requirements shall be computed on the 2006 Reenacted Budget. We anticipate LGUs to howl on the amounts to be released as it has been widely publicized that with the passage of the 2006 supplemental budget last October, the IRA is now treated as automatic appropriation.

We expect that this reversion to the 2006 reenacted level of the IRA is just temporary and that the release of the LGUs share to the level that they should be receiving pursuant to the Local Government Code will be made in due time.