Australian Embassy
The Philippines

MR131106 - Australia supports citizen participation to improve the quality and accountability of government spending

Australia supports citizen participation to improve the quality and accountability of government spending
06 November 2013

The Australian Government is supporting the Philippine Government’s efforts to improve the efficiency, accountability and transparency of public fund use in the Philippines by engaging citizens to participate in the audit process for government projects, among others.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell said, “Through the Public Financial Management Program (PFMP), the Australian Government supports the Philippine Government’s efforts to modernise its public financial management system. A more effective and open budget process in the Philippines is essential to combat corruption and direct public spending to where the development needs are greatest. Initiatives such as the Zero-Based Budgeting and Open Government Partnership already signal the Administration’s strong commitment.”

Australia has committed Php1.3 billion (A$30 million) to implement the PFMP from 2011-2016. “This program will prioritise practical budgeting and expenditure management reforms. It will help those responsible for managing public funds to do their jobs efficiently, effectively and most importantly, in an accountable way so that Filipinos benefit from improved delivery of goods and services,” Ambassador Tweddell said.

One of the PFMP’s initiatives, the Citizen Participatory Audit Project, recently won the Bright Spot Award at the Open Government Partnership Summit held in London, United Kingdom, from 31 October to 1 November. The Award recognises the most inspiring cases of how open and accountable government is changing people’s lives.

The Citizen Participatory Audit Project, launched in November 2012 and implemented in partnership with the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP), brings together citizens and government to look into projects that have an impact on a large number of beneficiaries. Through the project, citizens are able to conduct audits, community surveys, participate in the community scorecard process, or provide audit-related feedback as individuals.

Since its launch, the Project has already started four participatory audits in the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Department of Education.

The project has also established the (“I account”) website to raise public awareness on public auditing and COA’s functions, and through the development of a Public Information System to track and manage public enquiries within COA.

Australia works closely with partner government agencies such as the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of Finance-Bureau of Treasury, and the Commission on Audit to advance the institutional reforms contained in the Philippine PFM Reform Roadmap: Towards Improved Accountability and Transparency.