The Committee on Appropriations breaks tradition after it approved last Monday, September 17, 2007, the participation of bona fide people’s organizations (POs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in public hearings on the General Appropriations Bill.
Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, endorsed the approval of this innovative approach as suggested by Rep. Lorenzo R. Tanada III and Teofisto L. Guingona III, co-authors of House Resolution No. 120 which is entitled, “Urgent Resolution Allowing the Active Participation of Bona Fide People’s Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations in Public Hearings in Congress’ Annual Budget Deliberations.”
Lagman, an activist by orientation and commitment, said that the traditional practice of solely limiting budget briefings and hearings to heads and representatives of government departments and agencies is an incomplete process.
The Bicol solon added that the people, who are the ultimate beneficiaries or casualties of budgetary allocations, should be given the opportunity to be heard through their non-elective and alternative representatives in the PO and NGO community.
Lagman announced that initially POs and NGOs who have differing campaigns on agri-agra concerns, debt service, family planning, health issues like infant and maternal mortality, poverty alleviation and the millennium development goals, among others, will be called to submit their respective position papers.