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DBM promises to support regional budget officers in complete devolution

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In light of the national government’s push to execute complete devolution, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Wednesday pledged to support regional budget officers and public financial managers.

This pledge was made by DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman during a speech at the Tacloban City, Leyte-hosted Visayas Area Conference of the Philippine League of Local Budget Officers (PHILLBO).

She emphasized their “crucial role” in assisting local government units (LGUs) in achieving bureaucratic efficiency and solid budgetary management and declared, “The DBM is always ready to support you, especially as we progress towards full devolution.”

She referred to public financial managers and municipal budget officers as “transformational leaders” who personify responsibility, accountability, and transparency.

You are our dependable representatives in bringing about our goal of economic transformation—one that includes all Filipinos and is sustainable for coming generations—she continued.

According to Pangandaman, the proposed PHP5.268 trillion national budget for 2023 by the national government allocates funds to support LGUs in providing the services that have been devolved to them in order to ease the devolution of functions to the localities.

In addition to the PHP820.3 billion estimated just share of the LGUs from the national tax collections for 2023, she added the PHP28.9 billion Local Government Support Fund (LGSF).

According to Pangandaman, the national government has implemented a number of improvements to the budget process with the goal of enhancing public financial management.

The plan to institutionalize the Cash-Based Budgeting System (CBS), which seeks to foster financial restraint and better operational planning and execution of the government’s programs, activities, and projects (PAPs) by capping the obligation of money at one year, is one of these budget changes.

She added that the government is also working to pass the Budget Modernization Bill, which aims to improve fiscal restraint in the distribution and utilization of budgetary resources by guaranteeing that every peso allocated by the government will result in the effective implementation of projects and programs.

Citizen involvement

The Philippine Open Government Partnership is a change that the Budget department is pushing for in order to increase transparency and public involvement (PH-OGP).

This gives genuine citizens a way to participate in governmental processes and gives influential government officials and engaged non-governmental actors a place to work together, she said.

Pangandaman, who is also the chair of the PH-OGP Steering Committee, reaffirmed the DBM’s commitment to carrying out ongoing initiatives to promote digital governance, revitalize civic space, and make public institutions more accessible.

The purpose of the Visayas Area Conference, which the PHILLBO is hosting in collaboration with the DBM, is to help local budget officers and other local budgeting practitioners develop their transformational leadership skills.

The three-day conference, with the title “Local Budget Officers: Transformational Leaders for a More Inclusive and Sustainable Public Financial Management,” will discuss a variety of pertinent issues, including the Implementation of Devolution Transition Plans, the Regional Vision Sharing of Party-List Representatives based in Region 8, Collaboration Techniques (Disagreeing Without Being Disagreeable), and Growth Mindset.

Executive Order No. 138, issued by former President Duterte in June 2021, directs the full devolution of some executive branch duties to LGUs in accordance with the Mandanas-Garcia decision of the Supreme Court.

Prior to that, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. ordered a study of the duties that ought to be transferred to local governments and those that ought to stay with the national government. He also suggested that the time frame for some of these transfers may be extended until 2027.

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