RP budget system lacks transparency

The newspapers are saying something which most Filipinos already know. The other day, I asked an economist for information regarding the total amount of commitment fees that the Philippine government has paid its lenders. I was told that the thick 2007 national budget only has one page alloted to foreign debts. No mention was ever given regarding commitment fees....

THERE is not much accountability and transparency on the Philippine government’s budget process which, with the limited accessibility, holds back stakeholder participation in the efficient allocation and use of public funds, a new study from the US-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) on Wednesday revealed.
in addition....
“The level of transparency is strongly influenced by the willingness of the government to be accountable to citizens…transparency is possible in both developed and developing countries,” Datinguinoo commented.
Datinguinoo, meanwhile, commented transparency and accountability, not only in the budget process but in other governance aspects as well, would be boosted if the legislature passes the Right to Information bill and provides broader access to government information.

Arvind Kejriwal, this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership awardee, earlier stressed the need for a law strengthening the Filipinos’ constitutionally-mandated right to information as a tool for empowerment and stemming corruption in government. “I encourage Filipinos to [demand] from government to have a law… and stop corruption by pushing for greater accountability among government employees,” he said.

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