MANILA — Malacañang on Thursday lauded the results of the Open Budget Survey (OBS) 2017 showing the Philippines as the topnotcher in Asia and 19th worldwide in terms of budget transparency, noting that this was an indication of the seriousness of President Rodrigo Duterte administration in promoting government transparency and accountability.
According to the survey, the Philippine government garnered an open budget index (OBI) score of 67 out of 100, up three points from its score in 2015 and well over the global average of 42.
The OBS is conducted every two years by the International Budget Partnership (IBP).
In Asia, the Philippines was followed by Indonesia with a score of 64, Jordan (63), Japan (60), and South Korea (60).
Globally, the country ranked 19th out of 115 countries included in the survey.
“This underscores the Duterte administration’s seriousness in upholding transparency and accountability in the government,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said during a press briefing in Baguio City.
Meanwhile, other results of the survey showed the Philippines getting a “moderate” score of 41 out of 100 in the extent of public participation in the country’s budget process, more than three times the global average of 12.
Only three other countries were able to achieve a moderate score in the category – New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
On budget oversight by the legislature and the supreme audit institution, the Philippines secured a score of 65 out of 100, with the legislature and the Commission on Audit providing adequate oversight over the budget.
In the meantime, Roque pointed out that continued public access to budget information, among others, had already been assured earlier with the signing of Executive Order No. 2 by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 23, 2016.
EO No. 2, or the Freedom of Information (FOI), mandates full public disclosure of all offices under the executive branch.
It seeks to promote transparency and accountability in government, to enjoin greater citizen participation and bring back the public’s trust.
The directive covers all government offices under the executive branch including, but not limited to, the national government and all its offices, departments, bureaus, offices and instrumentalities including government-owned and -controlled corporations, state universities and colleges.
“With the signing of EO No. 2 or the FOI, we guarantee that the public will continue to have easy access to substantial budget information,” Roque said.