Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, appealed to lawmakers to exercise more “proactive” oversight on the implementation of the national budget for 2023 and to create a “scorecard” on the progress of government projects.

The independent senator said this should be done in conjunction with a five-year plan to more effectively track the progress of large government programs.

“The Oversight Committee (should) be more proactive in the sense that we can come together with the minority and all independents to have a sort of scorecard that we can agree with with the administration,” Cayetano said in a manifestation at the Senate on Monday as lawmakers approved the national budget for 2023.

Cayetano said the scorecard should be issued in light of a five-year plan that the administration could use as a framework for public spending on its declared policy and infrastructure priorities. This, he said, will make it easier for the public to hold the government accountable for projects and budget priorities it promised to deliver within the term of the current administration.

As an example, Cayetano discussed the need to build health centers for the two out of every five barangays in the country that do not have properly equipped and staffed community clinics, saying meeting such a goal would help the administration fulfill its promise of bringing reliable healthcare closer to the regions.

“So if you say that you need 10,000 health centers and in the third year of this administration, not because of the budget but let’s say because of implementation, 3,000 lang ang nagawa (only 3,000 were constructed), then we know that there’s something we have to change,” he explained.

“And then you have the latter part of the administration, the last three years to try to make up for the targets that were not met,” he added.

Cayetano asserted that implementing its budget under a five-year plan would also allow the government to resolve long-running shortcomings in the delivery of the most basic services to the people.

According to the senator, infrastructure development will also benefit from a five-year plan, as this will allow the government to set clearer, time-bound goals for the projects it says it wants to achieve in line with its “Build Better, More” infrastructure push.

Finance committee chairman Sen. Sonny Angara agreed with Cayetano on the need for a long-term plan, saying the latter’s experience as Speaker of the House of Representatives and as Secretary of Foreign Affairs gives him a bigger perspective.

Meanwhile, Cayetano appealed that he be allowed to speak again about the budget once the General Appropriations Act is signed by the President, saying other details that need scrutiny often come out in the final version of the national spending bill.

“I ask the good chairperson (Angara) and the Senate President (Juan Miguel Zubiri) and the Majority Leader (Joel Villanueva) for the chance to speak more about the budget once we see all the details, but again, I’m very sincere, congratulations on the hard work,” he said.

“We can sometimes criticize, we can sometimes collaborate but in the end, the success of this budget, the success of this administration is a success of the Filipino people,” he added.