THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said it will start requiring agencies to obtain certifications from regional development councils (RDCs) for 2021 budget items, to ensure that projects have local support.

Budget Secretary Wendel E. Avisado said that he ordered the certifications ahead of the budget call for 2021 this month, which officially directs agencies to start drafting their spending plans.

“We will be issuing the budget call this year, within this month, not December. I have said all departments who will be proposing projects for funding… will have to submit a certification from the RDCs that these projects that they want to be funded under the NEP (National Expenditure Program) are duly endorsed by the RDCs,” he said.

He said currently, only 25% of all projects pursued by the national government have gone through the RDC endorsement process.

The RDCs are the regions’ equivalent of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Board, with a brief to “review, prioritize, and endorse” the annual budgets of agencies’ regional offices to the national government.

Mr. Avisado said by phone yesterday that the order will formalize the RDC endorsement process.

“The experience is that not all of these projects that have been funded by the national government went through the process as they don’t have respective certification the RDCs… We just want to institutionalize that, otherwise, why do we need to have an RDC if the projects do not go through the process,” he said. — Beatrice M. Laforga