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Philippines provides ‘limited’ chance for public participation in budgeting — survey

The Philippines scored 41 out of 100 in terms of enabling public participation in budgeting, according to the International Budget Partnership’s Open Budget Survey 2017. File photo

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines provides the public with “limited” opportunities to engage in budget processes although the country fared best in this regard compared to its neighbors in Southeast Asia, a survey found.

The Philippines scored 41 out of 100 in terms of enabling public participation in budgeting, according to the International Budget Partnership’s Open Budget Survey 2017.

Nonetheless, the Philippines’ public participation score was higher than the global average score of 12, the IBP said.

The OBS is a biennial survey conducted by the IBP which assesses budget transparency based on the amount and timeliness of budget information governments make available to the public.

Overall, the Philippines garnered an Open Budget Index score of 62 out of 100, ranking first among Asian economies and placing 19th globally.

READ: Philippines tops budget transparency ranking in Asia

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“Transparency alone is insufficient for improving governance. Public participation in budgeting is vital to realize the positive outcomes associated with greater budget transparency,” the IBP said.

“Such opportunities should be provided throughout the budget cycle by the executive, the legislature, and the supreme audit institution,” it added.

President Rodrigo Duterte last December signed into law the P3.8-trillion 2018 national budget, about 12.4 percent more than the P3.35-trillion budget for 2017.

According to the IBP, the Philippine legislature, which holds the power of the purse, only gives “few” opportunities for public participation in budgeting.

Meanwhile, the executive provides “limited” chance for the public to engage in the budget process while the Commission on Audit gives “adequate” opportunities in this regard.

In order to improve the nation’s public participation score, the IBP said the Philippines should actively engage with individuals or civil society organizations representing “vulnerable and underrepresented communities” during the formulation and monitoring of the implementation of the national budget.

The Philippines should also hold legislative hearings on the formulation of the annual budget, during which members of the public or civil society organizations can testify.

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