Guingona wants reforms for ARMM budget

In advancing his advocacy on Budget Reform as part of Good Governance, Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona will be conducting a focus group discussion (FGD) on the reforming the ARMM budget which will start on 22 September 2011 at 2pm to 7pm to be held at the Conference room 1 to 4, Asian Institute of Management, Makati City.

The FGD is divided into two phases. First is the Manila round wherein several young Muslim leaders will be invited to be given background on how the ARMM budget works. Second is the Cotabato round wherein the learnings from the Manila round will be presented in a local workshop to Muslim leaders.

Representatives from government agencies like COA and DBM; Civil Service organizations such as Reform ARMM Now, Social Watch, and InciteGov and former ARMM officials were invited as resource persons. Young Muslim leaders from Mindanao will also participate in the discussions.

The objectives of the entire FGD is to identify the problems of public finance and accountability in the ARMM budget and to determine how the new Administration can respond to these problems. It primarily aims to empower the young Muslim leaders of Mindanao to understand the ARMM budget in order to simplify the complex government processes and to increase their awareness on the issues and areas for reform, as well as mapping out possible solutions.

Senator Guingona believes that budget reform is vital in pushing for positive changes in how the government can achieve development goals through a responsive budget. This has been Senator TG Guingona’s advocacy since his term as Congressman of the 2nd District of Bukidnon and until now as a Senator. Senator Guingona is not alone in pushing for a reformed budget. He convened last November 2009 the Open Budget Partnership (OBP), a coalition of the executive and legislative branches of government, civil society organizations, and development partners what aim is to promote transparency, accountability and participation in the whole budget process.

“In order for ARMM to initiate reforms, it must have a sound budget allocation and process in order to address the concerns of the region,” Senator Guingona said.

Guingona believes that Open Budget forum is needed in order to pull in those in ARMM, National Government Agencies, particularly COA and DBM, and other CSO, to discuss and identify key problems and possibly identify solutions that will be helpful for next year’s budget.

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