MANILA, Philippines – A year after the pork barrel scam barged into the national consciousness, President Benigno Aquino III submitted a new budget for Congress to approve.
The proposed budget for 2015 – the National Expenditure Program amounting to over P2.6 trillion – is set to be scrutinized by Congress in a series of budget deliberations where horse trading, bargaining, and budget insertions are known to happen.
How can the public help ensure that this time around, public money goes into the right programs and not into the pockets of politicians?
In 2013, the pork barrel exposé involving lawmakers triggered public outrage and protests across the country.
The pork barrel scandal also highlighted the importance of a freedom of information law in the Philippines. Through the FOI law, the need to make information immediately transparent and accessible online could be finally institutionalized.
Access to information however, is not enough. At the end of the day, corruption can be prevented if citizens will remain vigilant.
#BudgetWatch meet up
Rappler’s #BudgetWatch provides a platform through which ordinary citizens can help ensure transparency in the budget process. Through its network of citizen journalists and advocates, it will monitor the hearings until the budget is approved.
#BudgetWatch enables the government and concerned citizens to share information and views as well as map action points for a transparent and accountable national budget.
On August 9, Saturday, 2pm, the #BudgetWatch network will gather to prepare for the budget season. Students, youth organizations, and teacher are invited to join the meet-up that will be held at the Rappler office, Unit 2501, Antel Building, Julia Vargas St. Ortigas Ave, Pasig City.
Interested participants can confirm attendance by securing a ticket below.
#BudgetWatch also helps explain complex budgeting concepts and processes in engaging, bite-sized, and understandable chunks to help citizens participate in the budget process.
Try your hand at budgeting through our budget game.
Not familiar with the budget approval process? Check out Slides and Ladders: understand the budget process.
Check out how budgetary resources have been distributed to different sectors through our #BudgetTracker. – Rappler.com
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