Philippines leads SE Asia in budget transparency

Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 13 2018 12:06 PM

MANILA - The Philippines advanced for the third straight time in a biennial ranking of countries where the public has the most access to government budget information, results of the study released Tuesday showed.

The Philippines ranked 19th out of 115 countries in the Open Budget Survey of the International Budget Partnership, an advocacy group that works with civil society.

The Philippines got a score of 67 out of 100, the highest in Southeast Asia and above the global average of 42, according to the survey results that were released in the Philippines by De La Salle University.

Budget Sec. Benjamin Diokno said he would work harder to reform the budget system and improve the Philippines' score in the survey.

The Philippines scored 41 out of 100 in terms of public participation in crafting the budget, over thrice the global average of 12. The country is also one of only 4 countries that scored above 40, aside from the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.

Congress had the weakest score in terms of allowing public participation in the budget process. It got a score of 8, meaning it offered "few" opportunities.

The Executive scored a "limited" 42 while the Commission on Audit had an “adequate” 78.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, who chairs the House committee on appropriations, said the survey showed the government had room to improve, with a budget reform bill pending in Congress.

Nograles welcomed the study’s recommendation to hold public debates and stressed the need for the executive to submit its medium-term strategy not later than March.