Bill Mandates LGUs to Disclose Expenditures-A A +A
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
A LAWMAKER urged Congress to enact a law that would mandate the local government units (LGUs) to disclose in public its budget and finances, expenditures, disbursements, funds utilization, bids and public offerings.
House Resolution 2742, authored by Rep. Julieta Cortuna (Party-list, A TEACHER) urges the House Committees on Ethics and Public Accountability to direct the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to draft a new Norm of Democratic Practice that will be the template in the full disclosure by the Local Government Unit of local budget and finances, expenditures, disbursements, funds utilization, bids and public offerings.
"With the help of a template, we can heighten public accountability in all levels of government, especially at the local government level so people could appreciate the workings of government and where taxes are spent," Cortuna said.
Cortuna said the bill will require governors, city mayors and municipal mayors to disclose and post the following fiscal items, namely: the Annual Budget; Quarterly Statement of Cash Flows; Statement of Receipts and Expenditures; Trust Fund (PDAF) Utilization; Special Education Fund Utilization; 20% Component of the IRA Utilization; Gender and Development Fund Utilization; Statement of Debt Service; Annual Procurement; and Abstract of Bids as calculated.
"The well-intentioned principle of public accountability in the disbursement of public funds by every official or employee in government requires an equivalent Norm of Democratic Practice that could be formulated textually via an administrative issuance and could be applied in praxis," Cortuna said.
Under the bill, all local treasurers, accountants, budget officers, and other accountable officers shall post the fiscal items in three publicly accessible and conspicuous places in their website and national newspaper.
The bill has been referred for proper consideration to the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges chaired by Rep. Erico Aumentado (2nd District, Bohol). Meanwhile, Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City) has filed a similar bill mandating local government executives to make full public disclosure of their transactions and expenditures.
Castelo said House Bill 6499 provides that the items of expenditures and disbursements should be posted in various effective ways such as but not limited to websites, newspapers, and other publicly accessible and conspicuous places to demonstrate public accountability and transparency in the use of public funds.
Covered by the bill are governors, city and municipal mayors, treasurers, accountants, budget officers and other fund officers involved in the utilization of public funds to disclose a summary of all incomes and revenues from both public and private sources, as well as a listing of all their disbursements, expenditures and utilization of funds for the entire year.
"Public trust is the basic ingredient in the government's menu of transparency, accountability and good governance. This will serve public notice how timely and prompt disclosure will effectively plug possible holes of graft and corruption in the local bureaucracy level," Castelo said.
The bill, to be known as the "Local Government Transactions Disclosure Act of 2012," seeks to amend Section 352 of Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Units Code of 1991.
Under the bill, the Annual Budget, Quarterly Statement of Cash Flows, Statement of Receipts and Expenditures, Trust Fund (PDAF) Utilization, 20% Component of the IRA Utilization, Gender and Development Fund Utilization, Statement of Debt Service, Annual Procurement Plan or Procurement List, Items to Bid, Bid Result on Civil Works, Goods and Services, and Abstract of Bids Calculated are included in the list of items to be disclose to the public.
The fiscal items in accordance with the forms, procedures, and schedules prescribed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), as well as those that may be jointly issued with the Commission on Audit (CoA) and other cognizant agencies, should be disclosed and posted in public places, aside from posting in website or publication in newspapers.
The bill mandates the DBM in collaboration with COA to issue rules and regulations, promulgations and guidelines for the effective implementation of the proposed act.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 26, 2012.