City gov’t seeks civil society’s participation in budget process PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 23 July 2013 13:24

Recognizing the important role of the private sector in local governance, the city government of Zamboanga headed by Mayor Beng Climaco is now in the process of institutionalizing the participation of civil society organizations (CSOs) in budget preparations.

Mayor Climaco said her administration appreciates the assistance and commitment of the private sector to partner with the city government in helping the people, particularly in the delivery of basic social services.

“With your participation, we will be able to bring the city government closer to our people and achieve full transparency in all our transactions,” Climaco told the representatives of the different civil groups during the meeting yesterday afternoon at City Hall conference room.

For her part, City Budget Officer Virginia Gara, who presided over the meeting as chairperson of the Local Finance Committee, cited R.A. 7160 also known as the Local Government Code as the legal basis for the participation of city society organizations in the budget process.

She said the inputs, suggestions and recommendations of the CSOs on government programs and services will ensure social and economic development of the city. She further said the CSOs, composed of representatives from the different sectors, will either be organized as a whole or by individual sector.

Gara said the city government and the CSOs will forge a Budget Partnership Agreement (BPA) to institutionalize their participation, thereby providing all parties with timely access to relevant and verified information subject to the limits of law.

Once the proposed BPA is approved, the CSOs will have access to budget data, summary of budget, funds actually obligated, expenditures, details of budget process and other pertinent information.

Further, the CSOs’ participation will help the city government maximize its resources, reduce delay in the implementation of urgent projects, develop public trust in government, represent the aggregate needs of the people.

The CSOs will be needed during the upcoming series of budget hearings scheduled next month and other activities.

Present during the meeting were members of the Local Finance Committee namely; City Treasurer Soledad Li, City Accountant Sylvia Binarao, City Planning and Development Coordinator Rodrigo Sicat and Councilor Gerky Valesco, chair of the City Council’s finance committee.

Representing the CSOs were officers of civil engineers association, federation of cooperatives, farmers’ federation, the Western Mindanao State University, drug stores association, homeowners association and other non-government organizations. — Vic Larato