“The citizen can bring our political and governmental institutions back to life, make them responsive and accountable, and keep them honest. No one else can.” John W. Gardner, US Secretary of Health and Education, 1965-68
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Prof. Boncodin, in one of the forums she had appeared in to help people understand the the national budget and what people could do to protect it from corruption and wastage.
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The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project and the Pera Natin ‘To! website are made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this website and the views expressed herein are solely the responsibility of the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project and the individual authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government or the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative.
Welcome to the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project
This project and website is built on the belief that corruption in public life will only ever be reduced when ordinary people are able to understand, monitor - and ultimately have a say on where and how public money is spent.
As the subtitle of this website says, it’s our money (pera natin 'to!). Every centavo lost to corruption is a centavo stolen from education, poverty reduction, social services and job creation. Ultimately, beating corruption will result in more inward investment, serious economic development and far fewer people leaving home in search of a better life overseas. READ MORE
Putting People Power To Work in Naga City
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
Starting them early: Naga city government selects and trains young leaders every summer on how to "run" city government affairs in an honest, trasparent and effective way. JOSE COLLERA
Located in the central part of the country’s Bicol region, Naga City in Camarines Sur lacks viable industries and abundant natural resources. But these deficiencies are compensated by a participatory and accountable system of local government that makes people here count their blessings.
Letting go: Congress has practically abdicated the power to thoroughly study and plan the country's budget to the executive branch. Source: www.flickr.com/ photos/bikoy/4175577463/
The annual national budget is said to be the most powerful public articulation of the government’s policy. It lays out the government’s course of actions for the country for that year. And as pundits would say it, the budget is the development policy expressed in peso terms.
The budget, after all, is the engine, the prime mover. Without it, any development plan cannot set into motion. Thus, given the magnitude of its importance, no less than the Constitution specifically provides that the budget proposed by the Executive must go through an exhaustive check in Congress before it is approved.
Does Emergency Spending Always Go Where It Should?
the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project
Monday, 22 March 2010
In time of disaster and despair: Did the emergency funds in the aftermath of Ondoy go where it should? BUCK PAGO/AKP Images
Post-disaster needs assessments conducted by the World Bank at the request of the Philippine government late last year claimed USD 4.4 billion, or over PhP 202 billion, was needed to get the country back on its feet after tropical storm Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng.
Funds were urgently needed for both relief and reconstruction work.
Statements of Assets and Net Worth: A Critical Tool to Combat Public Sector Corruption
Yvonne T. Chua
Friday, 19 March 2010
Being transparent: presidential son Mikey Arroyo came into question last year after VERA Files reported he failed to declare in his SALN a million-dollar bay front house in California under his wife’s name. Courtesy of Boy Santos/news.flash.org
How honest are our elected officials?
In theory, this should be easy to tell since all public officials and employees are legally obliged to report everything they own and owe in their annual Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).
In reality, though, it is an altogether different story. It is no secret that a substantial number fail to declare their real worth for one reason or another: Officials under-declare or even fail to declare all their assets and properties. In many instances declarations are shorn of specifics, making it very difficult for government investigators and citizens to determine their real wealth and work out whether it was all accrued legally—or otherwise.
The Media and Public Sector Corruption: Role, Challenges and Some Practical Steps Forward
Thursday, 18 March 2010
The media are crucial to creating and maintaining an atmosphere in public life that discourages fraud and corruption. CLAIRE DELFIN
Corruption is injustice, silence is consent. -- A slogan at a public hearing on anti-corruption in India
Often viewed by many societies especially those with weak states as an inevitable fact of everyday life, corruption in its many forms, whether as transactional politics on a large scale or petty bribe-taking to “grease” infamously rusty bureaucratic wheels, thrives like fungus in dark recesses where light is easily extinguished by greed.
The Public Procurement Process: Good Law, Poor Reality
Atty. Rachelle Padre-Isip
Thursday, 18 March 2010
The Procurement Law aims to promote transparency in anything that government needs to buy, provide, or construct, including bridges and roads. KEITH BACONGCO/AKP Images
Competitive public bidding for government procurement in the Philippines began more than a century ago when the United States Philippine Commission introduced the American practice of public bidding through Act No. 22, passed on October 15, 1900 and requiring competitive bidding for the purchase of materials and lands needed for the construction of highways and bridges.1 Several more laws were subsequently passed requiring competitive public bidding when buying government supplies as well as in contracts for public works.
Promises and Laws to Keep, Miles to Go: Legislation and Responsibilities on Public Transparency
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
he Office of the Ombudsman was built to root out corruption, irresponsibility and malfeasance of public officials. CESAR USAPDIN
Despite being one of the freest and oldest democracies in Southeast Asia and having a multitude of laws addressing graft and transparency, the Philippines is also seen as being one of the most corrupt – in fact the fourth most corrupt according to a March 2010 survey of 2,000 businessmen by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy group.
Reports of rampant corruption in government were common in the 1950s and 1960s and the martial law years were equally marked with chronic corruption by those in power. Thus, when the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was ousted from power in 1986, the framers of the new Constitution rooted transparency in public governance and people’s free access to information as constitutional guarantees.
Why is Business Better than Government in Building Transparency and Accountability?
Iris Cecilia C. Gonzales
Friday, 12 March 2010
Walk the talk: Private firms like SM make sure that they implement and comply with corporate governance policies they crafted. Photo courtesy of SM Prime
When Cesar Purisima accepted a Cabinet post a few years ago, he was shocked with what he saw in the public sector. Purisima, who was appointed as trade secretary in 2004 and as finance secretary in 2005, had come from the private sector, one of the country's biggest auditing firms, Sycip, Gorres & Velayo. Purisima was surprised to see how different things were in government. He particularly noticed how the private sector moved faster with its operations and was also more transparent. Purisima eventually left government and helped form the INCITEGov, a civil society group pushing for reforms in government.
Transparent As a Moonless Night: The Budget Process and Spending
Friday, 12 March 2010
Owning the budget: Congress has the Constitutional “power of the purse” yet is has been observed to barely scrutinize the national budget now that its majority members are allied to the President. The budget process must be returned to the people by helping them understand how it works, advocates for transparency say. CLAIRE DELFIN
With national and local elections just barely two months away, presidential hopefuls have been speaking out on one issue after another. Yet none of them has so far mentioned anything at all about the national budget process which independent observers claim provides huge opportunities for corruption.
Given seemingly endless allegations of fraud and financial mismanagement of public funds that plague the Philippines and see it scoring so poorly in all number of international reports and surveys, one could be forgiven for expecting contenders for the highest public office to volunteer their ideas and plans for reform: At the very least one might expect them to be challenged to provide them by a media that constantly finds itself reporting on one financial scandal after another.
Best Practices in Promoting Public Transparency at the Local Level
Eddie G. Dorotan and Lorenzo Ubalde
Tuesday, 02 March 2010
Representatives from nominated local government programs were publicly competing to win the 2009 Galing Pook Awards when the presenter from Marikina was asked how he could be sure his authority’s process for granting business licenses and certificates was not tainted by bribery. The presenter looked visibly hurt. “Hindi po namin gawain ‘yan,” (We do not do such thing.) he answered.1
While a water dealer in Marikina or restaurant owner in Naga City with regular dealings with their local authorities for permits might have understood and sympathized with the shocked official, for many other people around the country, dealing with local governments can be a murky business.
Public Expenditure: Policies, Processes and Institutions
Alvic M. Padilla
Thursday, 11 February 2010
More say from the people: Government agencies such as the budget department are involved in budget preparation and execution but generally they don’t have means to increase participation from the public. Courtesy of DBM
The national budget is a financial plan of government or the translation of government’s programs in monetary terms. The annual budget contains the expenditures program which enumerates the different expenditure items and the respective amounts intended to be spent for each. These expenditures are supposed to achieve public purposes and be consistent with development objectives. The expenditure program, however, is just one dimension of the budget. Public expenditures are prepared and implemented with due consideration to the financial resources available to government to fund its expenditures. Thus, revenue and financing (borrowing) programs are drawn-up, along with the expenditure program, and form part of the budget.
While the first of our two end-of project surveys has just been posted, the results coming in already make for some very interesting reading. This survey largely centers on which direction you think the fight for greater transparency and accountability is headed in the Philippines and what you think is currently present, necessary or missing in thinking, plans and action. READ MORE
The People’s Budget – It’s Up To us to Really Make It So
Thursday, 24 February 2011
Senate Bill 2186 or the People's Participation in Budget Deliberations Act is a very welcome move in the fight against corruption and graft and the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project was lucky enough to see it first a few weeks ago and be tapped for our own opinions on it. READ MORE
Truth Telling as We Remember the Lessons from EDSA
Monday, 21 February 2011
Former state auditor Heidi Mendoza’s message to the public at the Valentine’s Day forum where she was key speaker was very timely given we are just days away from marking the 25th anniversary of the EDSA Revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship and ushered in democracy. READ MORE
The Public Watch
Saturday, 19 February 2011
It is encouraging to see the Senate Conference Room on February 18 filled with students, nuns, socialites, activists, CSO workers and other concerned citizens who are all wanting to follow the continuing Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on alleged corruption within the Armed Forces of the Philippines. READ MORE
Thursday, 03 February 2011
We have a true ‘soldier’ in the form of anti-corruption fighter Heidi Mendoza –we just need to encourage more people like her to step forward and join her army. READ MORE
In the National – Not Personal Interest
Wednesday, 02 February 2011
‘Basic fair play, decency, good manners and right conduct.’ These words appeared in a well-argued column yesterday by William M. Esposo, the self-styled Chair-wrecker from the Philippine Star. READ MORE
Poor Budgeting, Too Many Contingency, and Special Purpose Funds and ‘Savings’ – All A Recipe For Corruption
Tuesday, 01 February 2011
Without commenting on who is charging what about whom in the AFP right now, it is not difficult to see how pabaon (send-off money) scandals can so easily happen. Blue Ribbon Committee hearings and politicians talk incessantly about slush-funds - and they seem to feature in every high level case of alleged corruption: But as yet, we don’t seem to link the ubiquitous slush funds with the ubiquitous and hugely discretionary contingency and special purpose funds (and dare we say it again, the PDAF/Pork Barrel Allocations) which are written into national budgets and approved by legislative committees year after year.” READ MORE
Officials Ignoring DILG Orders to Stop Personalizing Public Projects
Friday, 21 January 2011
A public-spirited citizen from Samar has just sent us in a series of photos and a complaint that government officials there appear to be in clear breach of a circular from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) banning the use of “names or initials and/or images or pictures of government officials in billboards and signages of government programs and projects.” READ MORE
The Good and Bad News from TI’s 2010 Global Corruption Barometer
Sadly the Supreme Court ruling on the legality of the Truth Commission comes as no surprise. We put ‘sadly’ not for the reasons that some might think – that many claim the Court to be biased against the Aquino government. It is ‘sad’ because it was perfectly clear back in May that any attempt to set up a commission which would only look at the alleged misdeeds of the Arroyo administration was a very poorly judged one. It suggested the move was much more about politics than it was about addressing the root of the problem of corruption in the Philippines. READ MORE
University Budget Cuts – Fact or Fiction and the Media’s Mission To Explain
29 November 2010
Opinion is critical and freedom of expression an inalienable (natural) right. Too is the right to information and often we assume they are the same thing. Yet information is essentially data and fact. Unfortunately, too much reporting the world over is poorly rooted in fact and too heavily in opinion and hearsay. READ MORE
Open Budget, Open Government
29 November 2010
Government officials, members of civil society organization workers, academic experts, business people and international development agencies met on Saturday November 20 in Pasig City to sign an agreement in a bid to make government budgets more open. READ MORE
Transparency in Government Contracts to Big Business and Consultancies
22 November 2010
“We are beginning to learn who works where, what departments spend and who are the big business recipients of taxpayers’ money,” journalists from the UK Guardian wrote last Friday in response to the latest release of financial details by the British Government. READ MORE
PPTRP holds 10th budget reporting training in Bohol June 30
The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) held its 10th training on advanced transparency and anti-corruption reporting called “Numeracy for Journalists, Civil Society Organizations and Citizens” on June 30 at the JJ’s Seafood Village in Tagbilaran City in Bohol. READ MORE
PPTRP holds 9th budget transparency reporting training in Kidapawan City June 6
The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) held its 9th training on advanced and anti-corruption reporting dubbed as “Numeracy for Journalists, Civil Society Organizations and Citizens” on June 6 at Boylyn Pension Plaza in Kidapawan City. The training was made possible with the financial assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the technical assistance of the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI). READ MORE
PPTRP holds 8th budget reporting training in Pampanga June 3
The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) held its 8th training on advanced and anti-corruption reporting dubbed as “Numeracy for Journalists, Civil Society Organizations and Citizens” on June 3 at the Social Action Center of Pampanga in San Fernando City, Pampanga. READ MORE
PPTRP-supported Local Transparency Groups Share Experiences in Reporting, Fighting Corruption
Three local transparency reporting groups which the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) supported and helped establish gathered on June 3 in Bohol to share experiences in building transparency and accountability in their respective communities. READ MORE
PPTRP holds 7th budget reporting training in Davao City May 27
The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) held its seventh training on advanced transparency and anti-corruption reporting called “Numeracy for Journalists, Civil Society Organizations and Citizens” on May 27 at the Ateneo De Davao in Davao City. READ MORE
PPTRP holds 6th budget transparency reporting in Dipolog City May 23
The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) held its 6th training on advanced transparency and anti-corruption reporting called “Numeracy for Journalists, Civil Society Organizations and Citizens” on May 23 at the Top Plaza Hotel in Dipolog City. READ MORE
PPTRP meets with editors and columnists May 18 to discuss media coverage of public corruption
The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project met with editors and columnists of selected national and international media organizations May 18 in Manila to discuss current media behavior and thinking in relation to public corruption and transparency. READ MORE
Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, the former CEO of the Philippine Forest Corporation who later disclosed explosive information on the anomalous USD 329 million NBN-ZTE deal that nearly brought down the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, shared his views May 9 with the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project on continuing the fight against corruption and for genuine transparency under the new administration. READ MORE
PPTRP holds 5th budget reporting training in Ozamiz City April 26
The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project held its fifth training on advanced transparency and anti-corruption reporting called “Numeracy for Journalists, Civil Society Organizations and Citizens” on April 26 at the Naomi’s Botanical Gardens in Ozamiz City. READ MORE
PPTRP holds 4th training on budget reporting in CDO April 2
The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) held its fourth training on advanced transparency and anti-corruption reporting called “Numeracy for Journalists, Civil Society Organizations and Citizens” on April 2 in Cagayan de Oro City. READ MORE
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The opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the
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