Enhance Citizens’ Access to Information and Participation in Governance

1. Pursue the Passage of the Freedom of Information Bill The Freedom of Information Bill is intended to give the citizenry access to information by allowing full disclosure of all transactions which are of public interest. It aims to institute transparency in the national and local government’s undertakings relative to loans, treaties, contacts and other similar transactions.

2. Issue an Executive-Wide Policy on Public Access to Information Pending the Passing of the Right to Information Act.

3. Ensure Open and Transparent Search Process in the Selection of Appointees in Constitutional Commissions, Regulatory Bodies and other Independent Bodies (e.g., CSC, CHR, JBC etc.) A credible multisectoral committee should be engaged in the nomination and appointment of members of constitutional commissions, regulatory bodies, independent commissions and other oversight bodies. The criteria for the selection, the candidates and their qualifications and those endorsing them, should be made public. The feedback of the public should also be considered.

4. Promote and Implement the NACPA In order to push forward the national anticorruption agenda and contribute towards the attainment of sustainable and inclusive growth, the OMB and its partners from the MSACC, should continue to pursue its priority programmes and projects under the NACPA. These include the enhancement of the anticorruption legislative framework and local policies, adoption and customization of the APEC Code of Conduct for Business, integrity development review of LGUs, capacitybuilding on the UNCAC, anticorruption workshops for professional groups, including engineers and accounts, for assistance in case build-up and prosecution.

5. Intensify People’s Engagement in Local Governance Increasing participation of CSOs in local development processes reinforces responsiveness and accountability among local officials. Local governments will therefore be encouraged to create opportunities for citizens to continuously engage with them in an inclusionary and participatory manner. Representation of CSOs in the Local Special Bodies in accordance with the Local Government Code will be strictly enforced. Likewise, the forging of LGU-CSO/Private Sector partnership will be promoted. By collaborating with CSOs and the private sector in the implementation of local government’s development projects, not only are financial resources shared, but also knowledge and experiences, which increases the chances for local development.

6. Ensure Budget Transparency

a) Mandatory publication in agency or department websites of major information on budgets, finance, and performance indicators. A strategic program to restore public trust and to enhance disbursement of funds and their utilization is the establishment of  transparency and accountability requirements in the budget. Specific budget provisions shall require DBM and other agencies to publish in their websites detailed information on the allocation, disbursement and status of programs and projects, including the
following:

• approved budgets;
• performance measures and targets;
• major programs/projects implemented/to be pursued;
• annual procurement plan;
• contracts awarded and the name of contractors/suppliers/consultants;
• targeted and actual beneficiaries;
• status of implementation and fund utilization; and
• program/project evaluation and/ or assessment reports;

b) Posting of fund releases on the DBM website. Information technology will be leveraged to achieve transparency and accountability. This facilitates the process of fund release and strengthens security while promoting transparency and accountability. Fund releases (e.g., congressional allocations chargeable against priority development assistance fund, financial assistance to LGUs, school building program, and internal revenue allotment) and other pertinent budgetary releases shall be posted on the DBM website; and

c) Constructively engaging CSOs in the budget process. The involvement of CSOs in the budget process is being pursued to institutionalize greater transparency and accountability in government and enhance participatory governance. The government and concerned CSOs shall have a constructive engagement to advocate good governance in the government budgeting process. This partnership aims to promote transparency, accountability, and public participation in the preparation, authorization, execution and monitoring of the national budget. This effort allows the public full access to government budget information, thereby increasing their capacity to understand the budget process and analyze its policy implications.

A communication and advocacy plan will be developed to ensure that all stakeholders understand the budget process and pertinent budgetary information. Training will also be conducted to facilitate a fuller understanding of budget documents among legislators and legislative staff. Finally, a healthy relationship between government and media shall be maintained to ensure continuous public discussion regarding government’s programs and projects.

7. Full Disclosure of Local Budget and Finances, and Bids and Public Offerings

The declared policy of promoting good local governance calls for the posting of budgets, expenditures, contracts and loans, and procurement plans of LGUs in conspicuous places within public buildings in the locality, on the web, and in print media with local or general circulation, specifically including the following:

• annual budgets;
• quarterly statements of cash flows;
• statements of receipts and expenditures;
• trust fund (PDAF) utilization;
• Special Education Fund utilization;
• utilization of the 20 percent Development Fund
component of the IRA;
• Gender and Development Fund Utilization;
• statement of debt service;
• annual procurement plan and procurement list;
• items to bid;
• bid results on civil works and goods and services; and
• abstract of bids as calculated.

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