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Budget reform bill ensures agency accountability: Diokno

The passage into law of the budget reform bill would enhance accountability of government agencies over the use of public funds with the shift to an annual cash-based budgeting system from a two-year obligation-based budget, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said on Wednesday.

During his regular media forum “Breakfast with Ben”, Diokno said this reform initiative aims to enhance transparency and accountability in the budget process. "This budget reform bill will make it easier for everybody to monitor the performance of agencies... It is now easier to track the accountability of agencies," he said.

In an annual cash-based budget, contracts intended to be implemented for the fiscal year should be fully delivered by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the multi-year obligation-based budgeting system allows the government to enter into a contract or "obligate funds" without requiring the actual delivery of goods and services within the year.

The Budget chief expressed optimism that the budget reform bill will be passed into law before President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July. The measure has already hurdled third reading at the House of Representatives in March, while its counterpart at the Senate is scheduled for plenary deliberations once Congress resumes session.

The bill reportedly seeks to improve the budget process by enforcing greater accountability, strengthening the power of the purse of Congress, and increasing budget transparency and participation. It covers the management of revenue, expenditure, financing arrangements, and assets and liabilities of national government agencies, government-owned and -controlled corporations, and local government units.

Filane Mikee Cervantes / PNA