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Bacolod City, PhilippinesMonday, June 27, 2011
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Better transparency
sought for DBM

A House leader is seeking more transparency in the release of public funds to ensure that the budget process is made open to external monitoring and scrutiny, a press release from Congress said.

House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III filed House Bill 4623 or the proposed "Transparency in Fund Releases Act of 2010," noting that despite the government's efforts to be more accessible, it has fallen short in making the budgetary process available for scrutiny, the press release said.

Tañada cited that in the Department of Budget and Management, actual fund releases like the Special Allotment Release Order and Notice of Cash Allocation to departments and agencies chargeable against regular and special purpose funds are treated as "restricted or confidential" documents.

Although a budget execution information system which electronically captures all SARO and NCA releases of the DBM on a real-time basis is in place, these databases or records remain internal to the same department, Tañada pointed out.

There are allegations that some people get away with selling copies of these documents to fixers and contractors who want to expedite the process, he also said.

The bill mandates the DBM to submit a report on the total allotment and cash releases to all departments or agencies, to the Senate Committee on Finance and the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations 10 days after the end of every month, the press release said.

Tañada added that as access to news and information should be readily available with the click of a button, "as the public has become more aware and sensitive to the realities of anomalies and corruption in the government."

Tañada said a law mandating and making the transparency of fund releases operational will ensure the budget process is made open to external monitoring and scrutiny.*


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