MANILA -- A bill allowing greater citizens’ participation in the national and local government budget process is nearing plenary debates at the House of Representatives.
The House Committee on People’s Participation has already recommended for plenary approval House Bill 4113, or the substitute bill for HB 283 authored by Reps. Cresente C. Paez (COOP-NATCCO Party-list) and Anthony Bravo (COOP-NATCCO), and HB 3905 filed by Rep. Maria Leonor Gerona-Robredo (3rd District, Camarines Sur).
The substitute measure, as contained in Committee Report No. 139, provides: “It is hereby declared the policy of the State to recognize the role of independent civil society organizations (CSOs) as effective participants in all levels of social, political, and economic decision-making…”
According to the bill, civil society organizations are accorded rights and privileges. For example, they may submit their own alternative or proposed budget. They may also provide alternative sources of financing on the projects, programs and activities considered in the budget deliberation.
They may also present position papers or written proposals on projects and programs of the concerned government entity.
The organizations may also gain access to and make copies of the data coming from the Senate, the House of Representatives, etc.
The Committee on Rules will now calendar the floor debates. However, Congress sessions will only resume in May.