PBEd joins CSOs working for a more efficient, transparent, accountable and participative Philippine National budget

March 17, 2011

STATEMENT FROM BUDGET GROUPS

We remember Professor Emilia Boncodin, the trailblazing Budget Secretary and icon of public service, on her first death anniversary with renewed hope and commitment to continue her timeless belief to bring the government budget closer to the ordinary Filipinos.

In line with her vision, we aspire for a Philippine democracy with working institutions and mechanisms, active citizen participation in governance and improved quality of life for every Filipino citizen.

We recognize the challenges facing our nation, our tight fiscal resource situation, the erosion of the integrity of our institutions, and the need for broad social effort to carry out reform at all levels. But we are optimistic that the wealth of human resource, innovations and creative solutions and the hope expressed by every Filipino will serve as a wellspring for reforms. We embrace this opportunity to craft a common way forward.
We commit to empower and compel the bureaucracy to lead structural reforms to achieve national development, alleviate poverty and eliminate injustice, just as we commit to empower citizens, communities, civil society organizations and other stakeholders to actively and meaningfully participate in governance and ensure development outcomes.

We commit to focus our collective efforts on budget reform as a strategy to institutionalize responsible and responsive public fiscal resource management and active citizen participation in governance. We recognize the power of the Philippine national budget as an instrument to achieve national development goals.
We will commit to and define complementary roles in a partnership for more efficient, transparent, accountable, effective and participative Philippine national government budget cycles from 2011 to 2016.
We commit to a process of constructive engagement wherein the bureaucracy and civil society continuously dialogue to address the most difficult aspects of budget reform; where we recognize each other’s range of capabilities while sharing successful experiences and identifying areas of particular difficulties; where we commit that points of agreement as well as disagreement shall be recognized and articulated in a manner that enriches the budget reform process and informs a broader constituency.

We commit to surface innovative strategies from the bureaucracy, civil society, communities and citizens to address commonly identified hurdles of budget reform. We commit to anchor our partnership on the availability and responsible use of information. We shall build goodwill as well as the policy and operational infrastructure necessary to allow the most efficient, effective and productive exchange of information between government and the citizens. We shall ensure that the exchange of information on budget reform strengthens and does not weaken our collective efforts for more responsive public fiscal management.
We commit to broadening the constituency for budget reform within the bureaucracy, among civil society organizations and the public – at the level of the citizen, the community, the municipality, the region and nation — through continuous information campaigns, stakeholder dialogues and other feedback mechanisms.
Professor Emy had always emphasized that this country’s leaders must always put the ordinary citizen in their hearts and minds when planning for and spending public funds. With small and gradual steps, we hope to continue her legacy of budget transparency knowing that the fruits of our efforts shall benefit not only our government but the nation as a whole.

Signed on 15 March 2011