DBM: Paving the way for the Bagong Pilipinas



Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

A new dawn has arrived for our country! The Bagong Pilipinas is here! 

At the Bagong Pilipinas Kick-Off Rally led by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (PBBM) and participated in by over 400,000 Filipinos from the government, civil society organizations, the private sector, and the public, we witnessed the emergence of a new era of hope, renewal, and personal as well as collective growth for our country. Spirits were high, and the atmosphere, electrifying! The love for PBBM was palpable as he went on stage to speak.

As PBBM emphasized, Bagong Pilipinas is a call for transformation, “the transformation of our idea of being a Filipino, and the transformation of our economy, of governance, of society.” More than just a battle cry, I believe that this master plan for genuine development will help us regain pride in being Filipinos, in trusting the government for leadership, setting excellence as the goal, having confidence in the future, enabling the government and citizens to flourish under favorable circumstances, and actively involving our kababayans to create a better, more prosperous, and inclusive Philippines.

In the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), we fully support this paradigm shift.

We have been crafting our national budget aligned with PBBM’s Agenda for Prosperity — one that secures a future-proof and sustainable economy guided by the 8-Point Socioeconomic Agenda under the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework, and supports the goals of the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028. In 2023, PBBM signed the historically fastest-enacted national budget, which prioritizes food security, improved transportation, affordable energy, healthcare, social services, education, bureaucratic efficiency, and sound fiscal management. This year, we shall continue to prioritize these, as the Social Services sector is allocated ₱2.116 trillion, with education, culture, and manpower development receiving the highest allocation of ₱983.505 billion. The Agriculture and Agrarian Reform sector received ₱235 billion, a significant increase from the previous year’s allocation of ₱186 billion. Meanwhile, the infrastructure budget for Fiscal Year 2024 amounts to ₱1.510 trillion and is equivalent to 5.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product.

More than honoring taxpayers by ensuring that our budget is crafted and spent in the right manner and on time, the DBM has been working hard to implement key structural reforms to promote bureaucratic efficiency, transparency, inclusivity, and sustainability, for these will foster long-term economic growth and provide the quality of life our kababayans deserve. 

To ensure bureaucratic efficiency, we are investing heavily in digitalization, with a total of ₱24.93 billion allocated in 2023. DBM initiated projects on Robotics Process Automation, Application Programming Interface, and Budget and Treasury Management System, the core components of the Integrated Financial Management Information System. We are also set to launch the DBM Digital Transformation Roadmap. Additionally, we are advocating for amendments to the 20-year-old Government Procurement Reform Act to refine the procurement modes, streamline processes, introduce new modes and strategies, and institute an electronic procurement system featuring innovations. We are also empowering government professionals through the Public Financial Management (PFM) Competency Program, which we intend to expand to more areas, and by establishing a PFM Institute. And, to ensure good governance, DBM continuously capacitates internal audit practitioners on the Revised Philippine Government Internal Audit Manual.

On transparency, the recent results of the Open Budget Survey presented in December 2022 show that out of 120 countries, the Philippines ranked 10th in budget oversight with a score of 74 out of 100, 7th in public participation (35 out of 100), and 15th (4th in the Asia-Pacific Region) in budget transparency (68 out of 100). For all three, the country scored beyond the global average of 52 for budget oversight, 14 for public participation, and 45 for transparency. These figures indicate that we are headed on the right track.

With the institutionalization of the Philippine Open Government Partnership (PH-OGP) through Executive Order No. 31 in June 2023, we have been encouraging public access to information, accountability, and quality public participation for inclusive governance. Last year, we launched the OGPinas!, a national campaign to guarantee nationwide participation. Because of these efforts, we were recognized at the 7th Freedom of Information Awards as a top-requested and performing agency and for our initiatives in encouraging public participation.

In pursuit of inclusive growth, the DBM ensures that the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is integrated into the national government’s Agenda for Prosperity. In November 2023, PBBM signed the Administrative Order constituting a steering committee for the commemoration of the 650th Anniversary of Philippine Muslim History and Heritage. Meanwhile, the Intergovernmental Relations Body, which I co-chair with BARMM Minister Mohagher Iqbal, activated all seven mechanisms created under the Bangsamoro Organic Law in less than a year.

To achieve sustainability, we are pursuing the Green, Green, Green program to enhance public open spaces in LGUs by constructing green infrastructure as part of the Build, Better, More program. The Climate Change Expenditure Tagging monitors the country's climate action, with ₱543.45 billion allocated for 2024. We are also leading the Green Public Procurement Strategy to procure goods and infrastructure projects with reduced environmental impact. These manifest the government's commitment to a more environmentally-conscious future. Meanwhile, the Local Government Support Fund-Support and Assistance Fund to Participatory Budgeting supports water supply and sanitation projects in lagging municipalities, ensuring sustainable development and poverty reduction. 

Beyond budget, Bagong Pilipinas is our strong collective conviction that our best times are yet to come. The PBBM administration is resolute in making this happen through transformative initiatives. However, we cannot do this alone. Each of us must participate in bringing about progress and a sustainable future. Thus, we encourage our kababayans  from all parts of the world to join in our relentless pursuit of excellence in every sphere of personal, community, and national life.

(Amenah F. Pangandaman is the Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management.)