SPEAKER Alan Peter Cayetano has said the direct participation of the people in the deliberations of the proposed P4.5 trillion national budget for 2021 can help counter the misinformation that is prevalent on social media.
Cayetano said Congress is taking advantage of the increased use of social media during the time of the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic to invite people to join the discussions not just as an audience but as direct participants.
The House leadership was set to meet on Tuesday to discuss the mechanics and protocols to be observed by the public in their participation. As of this writing, the meeting was still ongoing.
The House of Representatives is scheduled to conduct its first set of budget hearings on Friday, September 4, with the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) which is composed of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Finance (DoF), and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
The deliberations will tackle the financing of the budget, growth forecasts, sectoral priorities, policies, and initiatives that will be significant in the deliberation of the budget.
Cayetano had blazed the trail in citizen participation when, as Foreign Affairs Secretary from 2017 to 2018, he made it a part of his program to invite leaders of Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) organizations to participate in meetings with ambassadors and consuls. In his statement, Cayetano said allowing the direct participation of the people shows the House’s transparency and accountability to its constituents.
“We are the House of the People. We will be discussing the people’s money so the people should have a voice. They should be able to give us their opinion, tell us what they want us to prioritize, and witness the process firsthand,” he said.