MANILA CITY -- Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah Pangandaman unveiled her budget reform agenda during the first Post-SONA economic briefing of the Marcos Administration today, July 26, 2022 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
“We are very lucky to have a President who is very attuned and at the same time committed to advocate reforms (which are) both economic and structural,” Secretary Pangandaman said, referring to the Marcos Administration’s priority legislative measures of the National Government Rightsizing Program (NGRP) and the Budget Modernization Bill.
Rightsizing the bureaucracy
On the NGRP, Budget Secretary Pangandaman expressed support for the SONA directive of the President “to strengthen the entire organization through the implementation of structural and procedural reforms that will ensure the government’s efficiency and productivity.”
The Secretary, however, pointed out that the NGRP is not synonymous to mass layoff.
“Rightsizing is not a mass layoff. It is strengthening the entire government structure in order to help our bureaucracy to have an agile, efficient, responsive and technology-driven workforce,” Sec. Pangandaman said.
Budget modernization underway
Another reform is the institutionalization of the Cash-Based Budgeting System (CBS) or the Budget Modernization Bill, which will strengthen fiscal discipline among our government employees.
The CBS aims to address bottlenecks in obligations, which will lead to on-time implementation and disbursement of the government’s programmed projects.
“We will use and allocate our scarce resources to be able to finance our priority programs and projects. We will ensure that every peso in our GAA (General Appropriations Act) will be spent and implemented timely,” Pangandaman underscored.
Full support for the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework
In the same economic briefing, Secretary Pangandaman expressed full support to the Marcos Administration’s Medium-Term Fiscal Framework (MTFF) to help attain short-term macro-fiscal stability while remaining supportive of the country's economic recovery, and promoting medium-term fiscal sustainability.
Pangandaman added that the MTFF is the government’s response to the socio-economic needs of today for “inclusivity, sustainability, and prosperity” as she expressed gratitude to the Chief Executive for being attuned to this economic transformation agenda of the economic managers.
Top budget priorities
During the event’s panel discussion, Sec. Pangandaman enumerated the Marcos Administration’s top budget priorities, namely, education, health, social safety nets, infrastructure and agriculture.
Sec. Pangandaman bared that education will continue to remain on top of the budget priorities as mandated by the Constitution. On health, Pangandaman highlighted the importance of a “healthy and vibrant” citizenry and their “increased productivity in society.”
On social safety nets, the Budget Chief highlighted the need to provide funding to support our nation’s disadvantaged sector.
“We will prioritize the provision of assistance to the vulnerable and disadvantaged sectors,” The Secretary said.
On infrastructure, the Budget Chief said that the DBM will provide funding support for the continuity of the Build, Build, Build Program.
“As directed by the President, we shall continue with the Build Build Build, and expand it further,” the Budget Secretary said.
Finally, on agriculture, Sec Pangandaman said she hopes to “make our farmers and fisherfolks more productive” and expressed support for “their services and mechanize and use technology in their processes” to have “self-sufficiency and self-security and lower food prices in the country.”
Digitalization and roll-out of the Budget and Treasury Management System
The Budget Chief likewise mentioned digitalization to enhance bureaucratic efficiency citing the DBM’s roll-out of the Budget and Treasury Management System (BTMS).
“We will roll out the Budget and Treasury Management System. It is an online ledger of all transactions of the government, from planning up to the release of the budget. We will see the levels of the budget real-time. You’ll see the releases, you’ll see the balances of our budget. So it will ensure transparency in government transactions,” Sec. Pangandaman said.
“President Marcos said it himself— It is the 4th industrial revolution. We are entering an age of exponential technological advancement. And so we have to adapt. Digitalization is our way forward,” Secretary Pangandaman added.
Passing a sustainable and inclusive budget
Secretary Pangandaman vowed that the DBM shall endeavor to pass the budget before yearend.
“We will endeavor to pass the budget on time with the help of our friends from Congress,” Sec. Pangandaman stated.
“The DBM will endeavor to craft a budget anchored on the 8-point Socio-Economic Agenda towards sustainable and inclusive budget for prosperity and economic transformation,” Panngandaman concluded.
The Post-SONA Economic Briefing gathered members of the business and financial communities, development partners, civil society organizations, and the media to a face-to-face event with members of the Economic, Infrastructure, and Human Development Cabinet clusters. The event was co-organized by the Department of Finance and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
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