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Business

Philippine budget transparency slips declines

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines slipped eight notches in terms of budget transparency last year but the country remained among the top performers in Southeast Asia.

Based on the 2021 Open Budget Survey (OBS), the Philippines scored 68 out of 100 in terms of budget transparency. It ranked 19th out of 120 countries surveyed.

However, this is a decline from its score of 76 and ranking of 10th during the previous round of the OBS in 2019.

International Budget Partnership, which conducted the survey, said this was due to the country’s failure to publish the mid-year review online in a timely manner.

Nonetheless, the Philippines still ranked second in Southeast Asia, next to Indonesia. The country’s score is also well above the average of 45.

The transparency index measures public access to information on how the government raises and spends public resources. It assesses the online availability, timeliness, and comprehensiveness of budget documents.

A transparency score of 61 or above indicates that a country is likely publishing enough material to support informed public debate on the budget.

The Philippines retained its score of 74 in budget oversight which means that the legislature and supreme audit institution in the country provide adequate oversight during the budget process.

The country scored lowest in public participation which assesses the formal opportunities offered to the public for meaningful participation in the different stages of the budget process.

But its score of 35 is still an improvement from the 2019 score of 31. This is also much higher than the global average of 14.

In this indicator, the Philippines took the lead in the Southeast Asian region.

Budget chief Amenah Pangandaman said the administration is moving toward the improvement of programs and initiatives to promote transparency, as well as open and participatory government.

“We hope to fasttrack our initiatives to digitize government processes and transactions through the implementation of the Integrated Financial Management Information System and the enactment of the Progressive Budgeting for Better and Modernized Governance Bill,” Pangandaman said.

The bill aims to institutionalize the cash budgeting system of the country.

The OBS is the world’s only independent, comparative, and fact-based research instrument to measure the essential aspects of governance and accountability.

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