PH ranks first in Asia for budget transparency

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippines ranks first in Asia in terms of budget transparency, the 2017 Open Budget Survey revealed.

The Philippine government scored 67 out of 100 for transparency, 3 points higher than its 2015 index, according to the survey's Open Budget Index. Globally, the Philippines ranks 19th out of 115 countries.

Every two years, the International Budget Partnership (IBP) assesses budget transparency based on the amount and timeliness of information made available to the public. (READ: What's the share of gov't offices in the 2018 P3.8-T national budget?)

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said this recognition is an encouragement for government officials to work harder for transparency.

"We're very proud of what we've accomplished to date. In surpassing our Asian neighbors, we have further cemented our position as a global leader in Open Government. It encourages us to persevere, to do even better, in the years ahead," said Diokno.

In Asia, the Philippines is followed by Indonesia (64 points out of 100), Jordan (63), Japan (60), and South Korea (60).

In terms of public participation, the Open Budget Survey gave the Philippines a score of 41 out of 100, saying that the government provides limited opportunities for the public to engage in the budget process.

No country scored high in terms of opportunities for public participation and only 4 countries received moderate scores: Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom. The global average is just 12 points out of 100, meaning that around the world, participation opportunities in budgeting are low. 

In terms of oversight, the Philippines holds a score of 65. The IBP said that the legislature and audit institutions in the country provide "adequate" oversight of the budget. 

While the legislature provides adequate oversight during the planning stage of the budget, the IBP said such oversight is limited during the implementation process.

"The Department of Budget and Management will continue to work with the legislature, our constitutional bodies, and our citizens to further enhance budget openness in the public sector," Diokno said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the results of the survey show that the government is committed to transparency.

"This underscores the Duterte administration's seriousness in upholding transparency and accountability in the government," Roque said. (READ: How serious is the Duterte administration about FOI?)

"With the signing of Executive Order No. 2 or the Freedom of Information, we guarantee that the public will continue to have easy access to substantial budget information," he added.

The Open Budget Survey is produced by independent budget experts around the world, using internationally-accepted criteria developed by multilateral organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI), and the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT).– Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.

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