Participatory budgeting easier under federal setup

MANILA -- A member of the Consultative Committee (ConCom) that drafted the proposed Federal Constitution said federalism would allow greater citizen participation in the scrutiny and monitoring of the budgeting processes within their regions.

In a federalism media forum held at the Sangguniang Panlungsod Session Hall in San Juan City on Wednesday, ConCom member Susan Ordinario said citizens would have better access to financial information and how public funds would be used in the regional budgets under a federal setup.

Ordinario said since the citizens are familiar with the people, territory, and issues, it would be easier for them to check accountability and monitor the actions of government.

She noted that ghost infrastructure projects and other government irregularities can easily be detected.

"Ang graft and corruption, mas mabilis na niyo na makikita. Kilalang-kilala niyo na kung ano ang nandyan sa region. If meron dyan nag-propose in the regional budget ng isang malaking project, pwede niyong busisiin 'yun (Graft and corruption can easily be uncovered. You are already familiar with your region. You could look closely into the regional budget if a big-ticket project is proposed)," Ordinario said.

"Because you are familiar with the territory, it is easier for the citizenry to follow actions of government. This is one way that the citizenry can participate in governance," she added.

Under the ConCom's federal charter, the budget of the regional governments shall be crafted by a regional legislative assembly.

Federated regions shall also have the power to have sources of revenue -- the power to collect some taxes -- which can be used for their programs and projects.

Every federated region will receive 50 percent of all the collected taxes on income, excise, value-added tax, and customs duties.

The federalism roadshow was conducted by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), in partnership with the regional Philippine Information Agency (PIA) offices and ConCom.

It aims to develop and disseminate collaterals that would increase awareness of voters on the weaknesses and malpractices in the unitary system through evidence-based studies, and why the country needs constitutional reforms and transition to federalism. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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