MANILA — The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading the Fiscal and Monetary Report Act of 2017, a bill which seeks to require economic managers to appear biannually before a joint congressional oversight panel.
With 18 affirmative votes, no negative votes and no abstention, the Fiscal and Monetary Report Act of 2017 (Senate Bill No. 1483) was approved.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs and Finance, sponsored the bill. It was also co-sponsored by Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto.
According to Gatchalian, the bill mandates the secretaries of the Department of Finance (DOF), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and the Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to appear biannually before the new Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Fiscal and Monetary Policies, “to report on the status and the direction of the fiscal and monetary policies of the state.”
Under the bill, the biannual reports would include data on “economic developments and prospects for the future, taking into account past and prospective developments in employment, unemployment, production, investment, real income, productivity, exchange rates, international trade and payment, and prices.”
Gatchalian also introduced an amendment on the status of the national budget as among the data to be reported by the DBM to the Senate.
To promote accountability, Gatchalian said that copies of the reports to be submitted by the four agencies to Congress must be made available to the public through their official websites “within seven working days following the submission of their respective reports.”
He added that the biannual appearance should be made on or before the last Tuesday of March and September of each year.
“This legislation will ensure transparency in the government’s monetary and fiscal policy direction by mandating public disclosure of information to lawmakers,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
He said that this way, the Congress will also be regularly updated on the real economic status of the government. (PNA)