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The importance of CSO participation in the budget process

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 25, 2012

PALO, Leyte  –  The importance of civil society organizations’ participation in the process of budget preparation was emphasized during the FY 2013 Regional Budget Forum conducted on January 20, 2012 at the DPWH Multi-Purpose Hall in Palo, Leyte.

DBM Region 8 Director Imelda Laceras said that transparency is an important element of a good budget process. The participation of CSOs will increase the transparency in the budget process and will help increase accountability and use of public funds.

The Lady Director said that the DBM-8 conducted an inventory of CSO operating in the Region in order to ensure the participation of CSOs in the budget preparation process.

The 26 CSOs listed were duly invited to the FY 2013 Regional Budget Forum but although only one CSO was represented, the DBM Director expressed appreciation that CSOs are gradually actively participating in the budget preparation process.

During the Forum, Dr. Socorro S. Gasco representing the Association of Deans of Philippine College of Nursing honestly admitted that she’s a stranger to government’s budget processes and budgetary terms and languages.  She made comments however, from the point of view of CSOs, on some budget execution practices that they observed of some government agencies.

Director Laceras in response to the comments said DBM will coordinate with the concerned agencies mentioned. She also said that the workings of the bureaucracy is guided by laws and rules and regulations and that the Commission on Audit is tasked of seeing to it that agencies will not deviate from policies on the use of government funds.

Dir. Laceras lauded the presence of CSO representative.  She said that, “this is the scenario that we are aspiring for, the convergence of CSOs and government agencies in the budget processes.”

She also expressed hope that more CSOs will be engaged in the near future.

To underscore the importance of CSOs, the DBM Central Office is in the process of crafting guidelines anew in regards to CSOs’ involvement not only in the budget preparation phase but also in the other phases of the budget cycle, such as in the execution and accountability, Dir. Laceras disclosed.