Govt urged to allow public participation during budget preparation

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 08 2020 12:30 PM | Updated as of Sep 08 2020 12:32 PM

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MANILA - Government must allow the public to participate in budget deliberations during the preparation of its proposal and not during its legislation, a group said Tuesday.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano last week said the chamber would allow the public to participate in budget hearings through social media.

Allowing the public to be involved in budget deliberations is "not an entirely new development," according to Zy-za Suzara, executive director of the Institute for Leadership, Empowerment and Democracy (ILEAD).

The Philippines is among "the top countries that have an open budget participation in place," she added.

"If there’s real intent to allow citizens to participate and propose their own projects that would be best done during budget preparation process where there’s more time to deliberate on it, more time for government agencies to actually consult CSOs (civil society organizations)," she told ANC.

The use of social media also already "excludes the grassroots who are underserviced," Suzara added.

"It makes one wonder how meaningful and significant the process of participation in budget deliberation will be," she said.

"What happens after the participation? It’s still left to the legislators to decide on. What’s the guarantee that as long as you participate via social media there will actually influence what the budget will look like once it’s enacted."

Under the government's proposed P4.5 trillion budget for 2021, President Rodrigo Duterte's "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure program will get a P1.107 trillion allocation in the hopes that it could spur over 200,000 jobs as the crisis has left millions jobless.