Aquino budget still not transparent?
MANILA, Philippines - Despite efforts of the Aquino administration to increase transparency and accountability in government, the Philippines enjoys only "some" transparency in the national budget, according to the International Budget Partnership (IBP).
In the 2012 Open Budget Survey, the Philippines received a transparency score of 48 out of 100. The IBP noted that the Philippines' performance see-sawed in the past 4 surveys it conducted.
The country scored higher at 55 over 100 in 2010. Prior to this, the Philippines scored 48 over 100 and 51 over 100 in 2008 and 2006, respectively. These years were under the Arroyo administration
"The Philippines’ score on the Open Budget Index has largely remained constant in each round of the Open Budget Survey. However, with a score of 48 out of 100 on the Open Budget Index 2012, the government of the Philippines has the potential to greatly expand budget transparency by introducing a number of short-term and medium-term measures, some of which can be achieved at almost no cost to the government," the IBP said.
To improve its performance in succeeding surveys, the IBP recommended that government line agencies first consult with members of the legislature to determine budget priorities and seek their approval when shifting funds from one administrative unit to the other.
The IBP also said the executive branch must seek the approval of the legislature in the spending of contingency funds.
"The International Budget Partnership recommends that the Philippines expand public engagement in budgeting after considering the Open Budget Survey indicators on which the country performs poorly," it added.
The country is part of the list of 36 countries whch provide "some information" on their national budgets.
Apart from the Philippines, countries like Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Costa Rica, Italy, Ghana, Mongolia, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Turkey, and Ukraine also received a score of between 41 to 60 out of 100.
Second to Indonesia
Data from the Washington-based organization, however, said the country is still one of the most transparent in terms of the budget process. The Philippines is second only to Indonesia in ASEAN as the most transparent country in terms of its budget.
Indonesia, which posted a score of 62 out of 100, is part of the list of 17 countries which provide "significant information" in terms of their budget. The list includes Brazil, Chile, Germany, India, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, and the United States, which received a score of between 61 and 80 out of 100.
This year's top performers or those who received a score of 81 to 100 were:
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
The Open Budget Index measures the overall commitment of countries to transparency and allows for comparisons among them.
The index assigns countries covered by the survey a transparency score on a 100-point scale using 95 questions from the 125 questions on the poll.
These questions focus specifically on whether the government provides the public with timely access to comprehensive information contained in 8 key budget documents. - Rappler.com