Case Study

The Road to Budget Transparency in the Philippines

September 2017 | by Francis Y. Capistrano

The Open Budget Index assigns countries covered by the International Budget Partnership’s Open Budget Survey a transparency score on a 100-point scale using 109 of the Survey’s 140 questions. These questions focus specifically on whether the government provides the public with timely access to comprehensive budget information based on the public availability and content of eight key budget documents that all governments should publish over the different stages of the budget cycle. A score of roughly 60 is considered to represent the level at which countries are publishing sufficient information to allow public discussions on the budget to occur.

After languishing in the “limited” category on the Open Budget Index for nearly a decade, the Philippines managed to achieve a score of 64 in the 2015 round. Up from a score of 48 in 2012, the country ascended to the rank of 21st in the world, fourth in Asia, and first in Southeast Asia. On the surface, the Philippines improved its transparency rating simply by publishing all eight key budget documents. However, beneath that surface is a story of how key actors in the government bureaucracy took action to fulfill the promise made by the administration at that time to curb corruption and make the management of public funds more efficient, effective, and open to citizens. This case study examines the public finance management reforms and additional government actions that served to increase fiscal transparency in the Philippines.




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