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Opening Statement: Hearing of the Senate Committee on Finance

August 7, 2017

Opening Statement of Senator Loren Legarda
Hearing of the Senate Committee on Finance
7 August 2017 | Recto Room, Senate of the Philippines

 

Good morning and welcome to the hearing of the Senate Committee on Finance. On the agenda in today’s hearing are Senate Bill No. 1450 or the Budget Reform Act, which aims to modernize the country’s public financial management system and strengthen the power of Congress over public funds, and the Proposed Senate Resolution No. 43 filed by Senator Ralph Recto.

 

With the Duterte Administration embarking on an ambitious spending target for the next six years—infrastructure spending worth P8.2-Trillion and social sector spending worth P10.33-Trillion in the next six years, it is imperative that the country’s legal framework on public financial management framework [1][2] be revised and updated in order to ensure efficient budget execution and financial management and to limit Executive discretion in budget implementation. To ensure that the accounting standards set by the Commission on Audit (COA) are enforced by government agencies, this bill proposes the creation of the Office of the Comptroller General which shall assist the COA by monitoring how agencies address the latter’s audit findings.

 

Given the role played by the National Budget as the “financial expression of any administration’s social and economic development goals”, it is imperative that we in Congress ensure our existing policies on public financial management are aligned with international best practices that emphasize fiscal responsibility, transparency and people’s participation.[3]

 

With that, thank you to all resource persons present and I look forward to a fruitful discussion.***

[1] defined as policies and rules on how the National Budget is formulated, legislated, enacted and reviewed (source: DBM “Kuwento sa Bawat Kuwenta. A Story of Budget and Management Reforms 2010-2016” http://www.dbm.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/Executive%20Summary/2016/E1.%20PFM%20Law%20updated.pdf)

[2] Figures on infrastructure and social sector spending targets were taken from DBM Presentation on the Budget Reform Bill.

[3] Boncodin as cited in DBM “Kuwento sa Bawat Kuwenta”