For transparency: Rida Robes wants people’s participation institutionalized in budget process
By Billy Begas
The passage of a measure institutionalizing people’s participation in budget deliberation will make the process more transparent, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan Rep. Rida Robes said Sunday (July 11).
Robes underscored the importance of involving grassroot organization in discussion of the annual national budget.
“One of the critical aspects of the budget process that we are doing in Congress is to ensure its transparency and accountability. 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,” Robes said.
The measure was approved on second reading before session adjourned last month.
Under the bill, accredited civil society organizations (CSO) 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.
Civil society groups will also be entitled to notices of hearings and receive budget documents and will be allowed to submit their alternative budget proposals or position papers.
They shall also have the right to observe the budget deliberations including the bicameral conference committee meetings.
In order to participate, people’s organizations need to be accredited by the respective offices, 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 to six months or a fine of P30,000 to P100,000 or both.
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