DENR to enhance its budgetary process

July 16, 2012 9:52 pm 

MANILA, July 16 – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will make its budgeting process more transparent to further help promote proper allocation and use of public funds.

DENR Secretary Ramon Paje assured such thrust and invited civil society organizations (CSOs) and other sectors to join the agency at the onset of its budget preparation beginning next year, believing this will enhance transparency in the process and help generate inputs for developing the most appropriate budget proposals possible.

”Next time, let's meet during our budget preparation – this won't be a one-sided affair as we'll get many benefits from such partnership,” he said Monday when DENR held in Metro Manila citizens' consultation on the agency's proposed 2013 budget.

The consultation is in line with the budget partnership agreement DENR and the Alternative Budget Initiative-Environment Cluster forged to bring forth improved budget allocations for the environment and natural resources sector.

”Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio Abad issued National Budget Memorandum Circular No. 112 mandating all government agencies, including State colleges and universities, to tap CSOs’ involvement in the budget preparation,” DENR said.

DBM issued the circular “to institutionalize and progressively broaden constructive partnership with CSOs, especially on the allocation and utilization of public funds,” it added.

”Gone are the days when the mindset is that public finance is the exclusive domain of economists and finance geniuses,” Paje said.

DENR officials as well as representatives from La Liga Policy Institute and CSOs belonging to Social Watch Philippines network attended the event.

”We really want some sort of watchdog to monitor us since that will keep us on our toes,” Paje said.

The CSOs are interested to see more climate-sensitive national budget proposals to help the Philippines better cope with climate change.

”All agencies must consider including climate change in the budget,” Social Watch Convenor Leonor Briones said at the event.

She said such action is essential since the world is experiencing climate change already.

La Liga echoed Briones' stand.

”We need this as any growth or progress which the country achieves would be undermined unless vulnerabilities arising from climate change are addressed,” said La Liga Managing Director Roland Cabigas.

He noted addressing climate change in terms of concrete plans, programs and budgets “is an urgent development agenda” since adaptation and mitigation measures must be integrated into government's anti-poverty strategy.

Such action is essential as the impoverished are the most at risk and vulnerable to climate change's impacts, he said.

Experts earlier warned climate change's impacts include onslaught of increasingly violent weather disturbances and sea level rise.

Based on DBM's recommendation earlier, the proposed 2013 budget for DENR is P 23.63 billion.

Participants in the consultation reviewed such budget which Paje said the agency will propose to Congress this month.

Earlier, Abad said DENR ranks 10th among agencies with the highest proposed budgets for next year.

The highest budget proposal is for the Department of Education (P 292.7 billion), followed by the Departments of Public Works and Highways (P 152.9 billion), National Defense (P 121.6 billion), Interior and Local Government (P 120.6 billion), Agriculture (P 74.1 billion), Health (P 56.8 billion), Social Welfare and Development (P 56.2 billion), Transportation and Communications (P 37.1 billion), and Finance (P 33.2 billion), DBM reported.

Abad said the national government is proposing a P 2- trillion budget for next year. (PNA)

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