To further facilitate the needed conversations around fiscal openness and to finalize the commitments in the Philippine Open Government Partnership (PH-OGP) National Action Plan (NAP) 2019-2021, a dialogue between selected government agencies and key non-government stakeholders was conducted last October 28-30, 2019 at Marco Polo Hotel Ortigas, Pasig City.

Participants of the OGP Culminating Workshop together with the PH-OGP Steering Committee

Participants of the OGP Culminating Workshop together with the PH-OGP Steering Committee

During the first day of the back-to-back workshop, the roundtable discussion on the Budget Modernization Bill and citizen participation in Public Financial Management (PFM) was held. DBM Assistant Secretary Rolando U. Toledo opened the program and relayed that the activity aims to relay and get insights from the non-government sector representatives on the Budget Modernization Bill, specifically the Section on Transparency and Public Participation in the Budget Process, and relevant provisions of its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).

PH-OGP Lead Secretariat and DBM Assistant Secretary Rolando U. Toledo delivers his opening remarks during the RTD on Citizens’ Participation in the Budget Process

PH-OGP Lead Secretariat and DBM Assistant Secretary Rolando U. Toledo delivers his opening remarks during the RTD on Citizens’ Participation in the Budget Process

As a founding member of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and one of the lead stewards of Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) provided the linkage between the two sectors for a consultation regarding the development of this national policy. Mr. Jethro Anaen, Senior Budget and Management Specialist of the DBM shared how the institution believes in the promise of fiscal transparency and citizen engagement in fiscal policies and how opening up timely, comprehensive, and relevant financial management information to the public ensures that citizens are able to make informed decisions in enhancing public policies, ultimately influencing how the government is being run. Related to this, Dr. Francisco Magno, Executive Director of the De La Salle University Jesse Robredo Institute of Governance (DLSU-JRIG) comprehensively shared updates on the Open Budget Survey (OBS) Assessment of the Philippines and the highlights of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-commissioned study on Citizen Participation in PFM. The results of the OBS Assessment still placed the Philippines on top of the list in Southeast Asia, outranking Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia. Mr. Patrick Lim, DBM Consultant on Fiscal Transparency talked about the proposed DBM policies in strengthening civil society engagement and how DBM should formulate policies to establish and implement suitable participatory budget mechanisms. Some of DBM’s initiatives to strengthen citizen participation are pass the Budget Modernization Bill or an Executive Issuance, formulate a PFM Roadmap on Citizen Participation and re-establish the Civil Society Organizations (CSO) Desk.

After successfully carrying out 16 regional workshops nationwide for the crafting of the 5th NAP from July to September 2019, the PH-OGP Secretariat led the conduct of the PH-OGP NAP Finalization Workshop. It aimed to identify the final milestones and indicators of the NAP commitments and identify monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for each commitment. It was attended by the 14 agencies who sent their proposed commitment with focus on improving public service delivery. It was attended by over 200 participants from the non-government sector and government representatives.