Press Release
July 3, 2013


SBN 75 seeks for effective CSO participation in gov't general appropriations

Senator Teofisto "TG" Guingona III has filed a bill that seeks to provide effective mechanisms in allowing civil society organizations to participate in crafting the annual national budget.

"It is high time we encourage non-governmental organizations (NGO) and people's organizations (POs) to focus their effort on the national budget, which is the primary economic and political tool of the government," Sen. Guingona said.

The good governance advocate said the proposed measure will help ensure that annual appropriations will be an instrument of development that is reflective of the national objectives, strategies and plans beneficial to the people.

Sen. Guingona explained that Senate Bill No. 75, also known as the "Civil Society Organizations' Participation in the National Budget Process Act of 2013, is a right step towards transparency as the measure seeks to establish adequate consultation and feedback mechanisms to promote meaningful and effective participation of CSOs in the preparation and authorization of the government's annual budget.

"Civil Society Organizations are crucial resource, constituency and partner of the government in advancing sustainable human development, and transparency and accountability in government processes," he said.

Sen. Guingona added that strengthening partnerships with the CSOs is essential for the government to remain relevant and effective development player.

He added that CSO partnership is a key component of good governance by empowering the Filipinos with information on budget, and with space for involvement in the processes of fiscal management.

Under the proposed measure, accredited CSOs through their authorized representatives shall be allowed to participate as resource persons in budget hearings to be conducted by the appropriate committees of each House of Congress. Likewise, the appropriate committees of each House of Congress, the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on Finance of the Senate shall schedule one hearing day for the presentation of the positions of accredited CSOs on the budget.

Sen. Guingona noted that the bill's aim is to recognize and encourage citizen group's direct engagement in the budget process. Once approved, this will institutionalize the practice of legislature-civil society collaboration for a people-oriented budget.

"We should aim for more participation, transparency and accountability in the budget process so that Congress may fully exercise its power of the purse for the people," Sen. Guingona said.

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