Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman (File photo)

MANILA – The proposed PHP5.268-trillion national budget for 2023 will facilitate the transformation and digitalization of government processes, records, and databases through e-governance, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said Wednesday.

Pangandaman said this is among the agency’s top priorities under the Marcos administration.

“Through digital transformation, our bureaucracy can improve the ease of doing business, limit human discretion, and enhance transparency in government transactions,” she said in a video message during an economic forum hosted by the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines and the San Miguel Corp.

She said the proposed 2023 national budget will help the department build on past gains such as Executive No. 170 (s.2022) which was signed during the Duterte administration.

EO 170 mandates the adoption of digital payments for government disbursements and collections.

“With its effective implementation and through further digitalization as well as the proposed national government rightsizing program and cash-budgeting system, we aim to enhance bureaucratic efficiency to ensure quick and responsive public service delivery to the Filipino people,” she said.

Pangandaman said the department will also use the proposed budget to enhance the existing Government Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (GIFMIS).

“GIFMIS will significantly improve the cash management of our country’s treasury, allow greater financial management, improve data governance, and enhance oversight control,” she added.

She said an integral part of the GIFMIS is the Budget and Treasury Management System (BTMS), a web-based, fully-automated, and centralized database that will facilitate the generation of vital information on all aspects of government financial transactions and serve as an online ledger where transactions are mapped in real-time from purchase to payment.

“The implementation of the BTMS is a crucial digitization initiative. It has already been introduced and pilot-tested in different government agencies and is presently being reviewed for improvement,” she said.

Cash-based budgeting system

Meanwhile, Pangandaman said the DBM also intends to pursue the institutionalization of the cash-based budgeting system (CBS) through the proposed Budget Modernization Bill.

“The DBM will push for the gradual implementation of the CBS under Executive Order 91 (s. 2019) to ensure timely and efficient implementation of government programs. It is expected that the CBS will be fully implemented for the whole government by 2025,” she said.

She said the CBS is expected to address bottlenecks in obligations, which is expected to lead to on-time implementation and disbursement of the government’s programmed projects and provide for better planning of government agencies leading to higher utilization rates and improved public service delivery.

“As stated by the President, the CBS will help ensure that every peso budgeted by the government will lead to the actual delivery of programs and projects,” she added.

In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 25, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. urged Congress to pass the E-Governance Act, which promotes the use of internet, intranet and other ICT to provide opportunities for citizens.

He also called for the passage of the Budget Modernization Bill which seeks to institutionalize CBS to strengthen fiscal discipline in the allocation and use of budget resources.

GPP roadmap

To ensure sustainable management and use of natural resources by 2030, Pangandaman said the DBM, through the Government Procurement Policy Board will spearhead the implementation of the Green Public Procurement (GPP) Roadmap.

“The GPP Roadmap aims to integrate green choices in public procurement and put the government closer to its ultimate goal of ensuring sustainable management and use of resources by 2030,” she said.

Currently, she said a GPP manual is being drafted to guide procurement practitioners in embedding green specifications.

To date, the government has seven common-use supplies and equipment (CSE) items with green specifications.

There has also been an increase in government agencies adopting green specifications in non-CSE items from 26 percent in 2018 to 58 percent in 2020.

“This aims to radically transform the Philippine market by integrating green choices in public procurement and the long-term perspective of achieving sustainable public procurement initiative,” she added.

The proposed 2023 national budget will be submitted to Congress on Monday.

Pangandaman described the proposed budget as “inclusive” as it adapts to the need of the 110 million Filipinos around the world and “sustainable” because it ensures the long-lasting transformation brought about by the administration’s priority projects. (PNA)