Allowing CSOs to join budget process will add more ‘transparency’ — solon
MANILA, Philippines — Allowing civil society organizations (CSOs) to take part in the budget process of Congress will allow more “transparency” and “accountability,” according to San Jose Del Monte City Rep. Florida Robes.
“One of the critical aspects of the budget process that we are doing in Congress is to ensure its transparency and accountability,” Robes said.
“Providing for a mechanism to ensure that people’s organizations participate in the process and give them a voice on how public funds will be spent is a giant step towards ensuring that the budget we pass in Congress is not only transparent, accountable but also inclusive and responsive to the needs of the people,” she added.
Robes made the statement after the House of Representatives approved on second reading House Bill No. 7407 or “An Act Institutionalizing The Participation of Civil Society Organizations in the Preparation and Authorization Process of the Annual National Budget, Providing Effective Mechanisms Therefore, and for Other Purposes” right before the sine die adjournment.
Under the bill, accredited CSOs will be given a right to participate in the budget preparation of government agencies, including constitutional bodies and government-owned and controlled corporations, similar to the rights accorded to non-government organizations in local development councils.
CSOs shall also be entitled to notices of hearings and receive budget documents as well as submit their own alternative budget proposals or position papers. They shall also have the right to observe the budget deliberations including the bicameral conference committee meetings.
They shall also be allowed to participate as resource persons during budget deliberations in Congress.
In order to participate, people’s organizations need to be accredited by the respective offices in which they intend to take part. Any government officer who restrains any CSO from participating in the process will be penalized with a suspension ranging from one month to six months or a fine of P30,000 to P100,000 or both.
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