MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Senate has begun broadcasting live on the Internet, in keeping with President Benigno Aquino's pledge of government transparency, officials said Friday.
The online broadcasts, which began this week, are also part of the 5-month-old government's aggressive use of the Internet and social networking media to engage the public and help it fight corruption.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan, who convinced the upper house of parliament to stream its proceedings online, at www.senate.gov.ph, said the webcasts would allow the public to monitor public hearings on the proposed 2011 budget.
"Opening public proceedings to new media of late has become a vital source of interaction not only in the country but in other countries' governments as well," said Pangilinan, a member of Aquino's Liberal Party.
"Our aim is to provide the public... accurate information, transparency and accountability.... this is also aligned with the goals of the Aquino administration in having the public participate in governance."
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has pledged daily hearings to get the 1.645-trillion-peso (37.26-billion-dollar) budget bill passed by December 1.
The House of Representatives has already passed its own version of the bill, which must be reconciled with the Senate version before Aquino signs it into law.
The lower house has not given any signals it will broadcast its sessions on the Internet.