November 24, 2010 press release by the Department of Budget and Management
Abad: 3-pronged approach for transparency & accountability employed
As the Reform Budget of 2011 is being deliberated upon in Congress, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is not letting a day pass in pursuing public expenditure management reforms to support the Aquino administration’s platform of poverty reduction through good governance.
Secretary Florencio B. Abad stressed that the Department is currently undertaking a three-pronged approach in establishing transparency and accountability in the budget process: to engage civil society throughout the budget process, to strengthen the technical and technological capacity of the department, and to integrate disclosure requirement provisions in the budget text.
“As President Aquino described in our recent PPP Conference, the way forward is to move in broad daylight, where everything we do and how we do it is clear, honest and transparent.’ In line with that, we in DBM are pursuing reforms to shed daylight into the budget process,” he said.
“I stress that a key component of good governance is empowering the citizenry with enough space for involvement in the budget process. This is backed by efforts to strengthen our public expenditure systems to enable the timely disclosure of relevant budget information,” he stressed.
Abad said the DBM is now actively engaging civil society organizations (CSOs), as well as sectoral and regional organizations, to thresh-out with them ways to institute mechanisms to involve them in every step of the budget process—from preparation, to execution and accountability. He said that a new budget preparation calendar is currently being sought authority for. This new calendar will entail an earlier budget call, to create enough time and room for consultations with CSOs.
The reform advocate also said that technological capacity is also critical, that is why the DBM is currently beefing-up its internal systems to automate budget release information and enhance decision-making. Furthermore, the Philippine Government E-Procurement System (PhilGEPS) will be strengthened to enable electronic bidding by the second quarter of next year.
The DBM has already launched a special webpage on the DBM website (http://www.dbm.gov.ph, click on link “Fund Releases”) that discloses information on lump-sum disbursements made in 2009, particularly from the Priority Development Assistance Fund and Congressional allocations for infrastructure projects under the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Abad said the 2011 Reform Budget marks the start of integrating transparency and accountability in the budget process. Section 93 of the General Appropriations Bill’s general provisions requires agencies to disclose in their websites detailed information on the allocation, disbursement and status of programs and projects. Furthermore, more than 30 special provisions under agencies with key items—such as lump-sum funds—also require the disclosure of further details.