MANILA, Philippines—Various citizen groups will participate in the crafting of the budget of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for next year, the first time the agency will open the process to civil society groups, according to the budget advocacy group La Liga Policy Institute.
La Liga is a member of the Alternative Budget Initiative, a budget advocacy network led by Social Watch Philippines, which is a civil society partner of the DENR.
“For the first time in the history of alternative budget advocacy for the environment sector, the DENR will open its budget preparation process to the participation of different civil society organizations,” said La Liga president and managing director Roland Cabigas.
In a statement, Cabigas said the citizen groups’ plans, project and budget proposals could soon be integrated into the next DENR budget.
DENR’s budget for 2013 is almost P24 billion, most of which will go to programs on reforestation, rehabilitation of coral reefs and mangrove areas, and land distribution.
“Participatory budgeting is not only a means to ensure transparent and responsive environment governance but, more importantly, we are hopeful that this will lead to a more efficient and effective budget allocation, as well as resources for critical and urgently needed environment protection and rehabilitation programs,” Cabigas said.
He said his group would explore ways to ensure that citizen participation in the crafting of the DENR budget would become regularized and institutionalized.
“At the same time, we hope to see participation conducted not only at the national level but at the regional and local levels as well,” Cabigas said.