DBM looking forward to passage of FOI, Budget Modernization bills
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is anticipating that Congress will soon pass the controversial Freedom of Information (FOI) and Budget Modernization bills.
“We’re looking forward to having the FOI law passed. With this administration, with the push from the executive, we are looking forward, we’ll have the Freedom of Information law,” DBM Assistant Secretary Rolando Toledo said in a recent forum.
“As far as FOI in local governments is concerned, there are already gains. Around 61 local budget issuances as far as Freedom of Information has been signed. It has been a law at the local government units already,” he also claimed.
FOI seeks to mandate the disclosure of public documents, while the Budget Modernization bill is a priority measure aiming to clarify processes and regulations for budget preparation, management, and reporting.
Toledo added that the Budget Modernization bill is now “gaining more support” in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
“Yes, we are hopeful that this PBBM [or] Progressive Budgeting for Better and Modernized Governance bill will be passed. Given that we’ve already consulted a lot in Congress and there are congressmen who are sponsoring this bill already. As far as the Senate is concerned, we’ve already identified and responded to the proposal of the Budget Modernization bill. We’re hopeful, but it all still depends on Congress,” he explained.
In the same forum, Democracy Watch Lead Convenor Dindo Manhit likewise pushed for the passage of the two bills, highlighting that a “transparent” and “accountable” government would attract more investors.
“I was doing assessment of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) across region, and I learned that top concern for FDI is still governance. Investments are important because they create those initiatives that will help our people uplift their lives. We’re proud of the 7% growth driven by consumption. But can you imagine if we get consumption side-by-side with investment-led growth. You uplift the lives of people,” he said.
Manhit also welcomed President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s recent pronouncement to uphold the FOI and the institutionalization of the Philippine Open Government Partnership (PH-OGP) through the issuance of Executive Order No. 31, which aims to strengthen transparency in government processes.
“When the President issued a statement, this is a long dream of everyone, the FOI. Maybe through technology, maybe that’s the solution [to governance]. We are looking forward and we should make this happen collectively,” he said.