Lacson pushes for people’s participation in budgeting

MANILA Senator Panfilo Lacson has filed a bill seeking to institutionalize people's participation in the budget deliberations from the national to the barangay level.

According to a statement on Tuesday, Lacson said Senate Bill 2219 is the "biggest safeguard against pork barrel" as it proposes the participation of civil society organizations (CSOs) in the preparation and authorization process of the annual national budge to "ensure transparency" in the appropriation of valuable taxpayer's money.

"The budget process is the arena where a person can exercise his or her citizenship through the power to directly influence the social and economic priorities for his or her community," Lacson said in his explanatory note.

"It is high time that we encourage our civil service organizations to focus their efforts into analyzing and scrutinizing the budget, in order to steer the government into creating meaningful development that is felt by the marginalized sectors," Lacson added.

Lacson noted the impasse that stalled the passage of the 2019 national budget was due to "abuse and indiscretions" by some members from both chambers of Congress.

Under the bill, CSO participation shall be a component in the preparation and authorization of the annual national budget with national government agencies (NGAs) and government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) outlining the relevant mechanisms for their active participation.

Accredited CSOs will also have additional privileges and incentives, including being allowed to observe at budget deliberations and at the bicameral conference; and participation as resource persons in budget hearings in both houses of Congress.

They shall have access to documents including copies of the budget proposals submitted by NGAs or GOCCs to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and can provide written proposals and position papers to the DBM on the budget proposals of NGAs or GOCCs; and submit their own alternative or proposed budget.

The appropriate panels from both chambers of Congress shall schedule one hearing day for the presentation of the positions of accredited CSOs on the budget. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency