Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
In what could be a trailblazing effort of Dauin, Sibulan, and La Libertad in Negros Oriental in ensuring good governance and transparency in their municipalities, they have institutionalized people’s participation in the budget process through the Technical Working Groups on the Millennium Development Goals.
This is seen as support for House Bill 219 authored by Deputy House Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III, which seeks to institutionalize people’s participation in the local and, eventually, the national budget process. In anchoring this on the Millennium Development Goals, whose objectives and targets are hoped to be achieved by 2015, critical socioeconomic programs will be monitored and implemented to end extreme poverty, hunger, disease, and social exclusion.
Tañada, who was in Dumaguete this week to address the closing of the two-day Training Course on Financing, Localizing, and Monitoring the MDGs organized by Social Watch Philippines, said the bill is just claiming a constitutional provision (Section 12) to recognize the role of non-government organizations and people’s organizations in all levels of social, political, and economic decision-making.
The bill, examined it from the perspectives of both the local chief executive and civil society, can be quite sensitive if not implemented properly. The local chief executive, unless he has something to hide, or has some hidden agenda, may feel threatened by what may seem as undermining his powers in the local council. On the other hand, if the ranks of civil society does not thoroughly screen the composition or membership of those who will be present during budget deliberations, some of them may have an axe to grind, or may only push for resources that will benefit them.
In effect, this would be detrimental to the passage of the budget at the municipal, provincial, and eventually, in the national levels. For the bill to be truly effective, especially since it is public funds being decided upon, a worthy representation from legitimate and credible civil society groups has to be ensured.*