Press Release
October 17, 2011

By Sen. Teofisto "TG" Guingona III

Open Budget Forum on the 2012 National Budget
SEAMEO Innotech Center, Commonwealth Avenue

Honored guests, ladies and gentlemen, friends, good afternoon!

Thank you for coming to this forum on the 2012 National Budget. I am glad to see many familiar faces, friends and partners who joined us in our launching of the Open Budget Partnership last November 2010, almost a year ago. Last year, we formalized a partnership among groups and institutions to see the principles of good governance - transparency, accountability, and public participation - applied to the budget process. A year into the implementation of the Open Budget, and the landscape of the budget process has changed. We laud the initiatives taken by the Aquino administration. We've seen more citizen participation and engagement in the preparation of the budget. The Open Budget Partnership hopes that these efforts of the government can be sustained for the whole budget cycle.

One of my first insights on the budget is that it is not about the money alone: How much there is? How it is allocated? How can we raise more? More importantly, it is about, how the budget enhances national life. Does it protect the most vulnerable Filipinos? Does it provide both the means and opportunity for more able Filipinos to secure jobs and create enterprises? Does it provide for a more secure future for all of us?

We have had a full morning of substantive discussions. We have representatives from national agencies and CSOs discussing budget priorities and key policy challenges on various sectors, such as: agriculture, education, climate change and disaster risk reduction and management, social protection and health, roads and socialized housing. I am sure representatives from this morning's groups are raring to share the highlights of their reports and I am certain that our panel are also eager to listen.

We expect everyone to share their experience and knowledge for the benefit of not only our institutions, but more so for our brothers and sisters, and the rest of the Philippines.

Thank you and welcome! Mabuhay!

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