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Pnoy says 2016 Budget prepares next admin, urges lawmakers to pass FOI bill

MALACANANG, Philippines – President Aquino urged legislatures Tuesday to prepare the way for the next administration as he submits the P3 trillion 2016 national budget to Congress.
In his budget message, the President encouraged lawmakers to remain faithful to the Social Contract with the Filipino People to ensure an honest and effective governance especially on how public money is spent.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the 16th Congress: today, I submit a proposed National Budget that is designed to consolidate the reforms that we have introduced since 2010 and provide a strong foundation for Inclusive Development,” the President said.
Through the Budget, the administration can set the pace and tone of governance reform: from establishing tighter controls against corruption, to improving the capability of public institutions to deliver services while being held accountable for their performance.
It can also use the budget to empower citizens in statecraft through greater transparency, accountability, and public engagement.
The P3-trillion Budget is anchored on four principles that define public financial management under the present administration.
This is in line with the following principles: spending within government means, investing in right priorities, delivering measurable results, and empowering citizens through the budget.
Among the government’s major thrust in spending the 2016 budget include ensuring good governance and continuing fight against corruption, making growth inclusive, sustaining the growth momentum, pushing for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction and forging just and lasting peace especially in Mindanao.
The administration also firmly believe that greater fiscal transparency leads to a more responsive government, according to the President.
“To ensure the permanency of transparency policies, we urge Congress to pass the Freedom of Information Act,” the President said.
The President also said that through innovations, such as the Transparency Seal, Open Data Philippines, and the People’s Budget, Filipinos could understand the budget better and easily access government information on finances and operations.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.