Philippines' score on open budget index falls

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 24 2013 05:46 PM | Updated as of Jan 25 2013 01:46 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The country's score in the 2012 Open Budget Index (OBI) of the International Budget Partnership (IBP) has declined seven points to 48 from 55 in 2010.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said in a statement that despite the cut in the Philippines' score, the country remains in the top 50% of 100 countries surveyed.

Moreover, he stressed "the Philippines has remained categorized as a country which makes some budget information available to the public."

The survey measures budget transparency, public participation and oversight in countries around the world.

While admitting the government have had shortfalls such as late publication of its Organizational Performance Indicator Framework that affected the Philippines' score in the index, Abad pointed out other efforts have remained unrecognized.

"We respect the methodology that IBP developed for the OBI, and we appreciate the methodological improvements so far," Abad said.

"However, we wish to point out that even with its current methodology, the OBI standards for budget transparency are rather limited in scope, rating only the availability of budget information through eight prescribed budget documents," he continued.

Abad said the Philippines, among others, has implemented an earlier submission and enactment of budget, disaggregated lump-sum fund items in the budget, and required agencies to post budgets online.

"These initiatives-along with other budget transparency reforms launched by the Aquino administration-have actually made it easier for the public to gain access to key information on the National Budget," Abad said.

He further said "We in the DBM under the Aquino Administration are committed to push for greater budget transparency and participation in the Philippines, and will continue to work towards better openness and public engagement in fund expenditure management."