The Philippines secured the top spot in Southeast Asia for budget transparency after the results of the 2019 Open Budget Survey (OBS) were released last April 29, 2020. The country received an Open Budget Index (OBI) score of 76, maintaining its position as the most fiscally transparent country in the region while ranking 10th place worldwide.
The country’s 2019 OBI score climbed nine notches higher to 76 (out of 100) from 67 in 2017, exceeding the 2019 and 2021 OBI target scores of 67 and 71, respectively, under the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022. A transparency score of 61 and above implies comprehensive, timely and online publication of all eight (8) key budget documents, including the Mid-Year Review, a feat achieved twice by the country since the onset of the OBS.
Said score is also notably higher than the global average score of 45, as well as that of other Asian countries such as Indonesia (70), Japan (62), South Korea (62), and Thailand (61). In terms of global ranking, for the first time, the Philippines made it to the top 10 out of 117 countries surveyed worldwide by the International Budget Partnership (IBP), a substantial jump from its 19th spot in the previous OBS.
The OBS is a global biennial survey conducted by the IBP which assesses transparency based on the amount and timeliness of information governments make available to the public in eight (8) key budget documents such as the pre-budget statement, executive’s budget proposal, enacted budget and citizen’s budget, among others.
For the 2019 round, 7 out of 8 budget documents improved their scores, signifying a more comprehensive and high-quality budget information that help support public debate on the national budget.
Aside from transparency, the OBS likewise evaluates public participation in the budget process and budget oversight. The country’s participation score is the sixth highest score worldwide (31 out of 100) and is significantly above the global average score of 14. This implies that the country should increase opportunities for meaningful and inclusive public engagement in the different stages of the budget process.
Moreover, budget oversight remained strong in the Philippines with a composite oversight score of 74 (out of 100), which implies adequate oversight by the Congress and the Commission on Audit during the budget process.
“We are pleased with the results of the OBS and we are very thankful to everyone who exerted extra effort in the process. May we continue finding value in transparency in our work,” Sec. Wendel E. Avisado said.
Moving forward, the Department plans to create an Inter-Agency Task Force on Fiscal Openness for effective and efficient inter-agency coordination on fiscal matters to further improve fiscal transparency and the country’s OBI score.
For more information about the OBS Global Report through this link https://www.internationalbudget.org/open-budget-survey.
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