Honest and effective governance—truly transparent, disciplined and serving the interest of the country and its people — is our vision for the Philippine Public Financial Management (PFM) System.
A sound public financial management system helps government decision makers—both oversight agencies and spending agencies—in performing their functions do their jobs effectively, efficiently and economically. It helps them to channel funds to where they are intended and will do the greatest good and sends off signals when deviations occur. Most importantly, it helps to inform citizens where public funds are actually being spent.
Mission and Goals
The Commission on Audit (COA), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Department of Finance (DOF) including the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) are collectively committed to promote fiscal responsibility and good governance through transparency and accountability in financial transactions in the Philippine government. At the core of this mission is the need to put in place a government integrated financial management information system that will provide reliable and accurate information to support operational budgeting, cash programming and management, timely financial reports and effective enforcement of financial accountability rules and procedures.
The group’s mission is in support of the Philippine governance reform agenda. As stated in the draft Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2011 to 2016, the overall goal for reforming governance is as follows:
“Effective and honest governance will be promoted and practiced through four key strategies: (1) ensure effective, efficient, transparent, accountable and economical delivery of public service; (2) curb corruption; (3) strengthen the rule of law; and, (4) enhance citizens’ access to information and participation in governance.”
In January 2010, a Memorandum of Agreement among COA, DBM and DOF led to the establishment of an interagency steering committee called the GIFMIS Committee to oversee, coordinate and develop the integration and harmonization of the government’s financial management information systems.
Systems Integration. From the outset, the group agreed to focus efforts on the review and reengineering of existing operational budgeting, cash management, and accounting and auditing rules and procedures with the end-in-view of developing timely, more effective and responsive ways of managing, monitoring and reporting on the financial performance of the Philippine government.
Transparency and Good Governance. Having been brewing since 2008, PFM reform gained high-level attention under the new administration and was considered to be a necessary condition for honest and good governance which President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino and his cabinet strongly espoused. Most of the short-term measures that were identified by the GIFMIS Committee were adopted and applied by policy makers in the preparation and enactment of the 2011 Reform Budget, thereby also obtaining concurrence from legislators. Recent developments bode well for the more challenging tasks for the medium and long-term tasks of integrating the systems for the oversight agencies – COA, DBM and DOF – and implementing agencies and putting in place the infrastructure for a modern GIFMIS.
GIFMIS Development. GIFMIS is defined as a customized and integrated application or automation of financial operations of the national government particularly financial planning and budgeting, treasury, and accounting functions. This eventually will generate reliable and accurate reports in a timely manner for the use of government decision makers and the scrutiny of the public.
Ongoing Budget Policy Reforms. The GIFMIS Committee noted weak enforcement of certain spending policies. Examples of this were the realignment of unreleased appropriations, unfocussed spending of congressional allocations, and the preponderance of highly discretionary lump-sum funds and unprogrammed appropriations. Most of these problems were addressed in the enactment of the 2011 Reform Budget but their full enforcement requires an information system capable of supporting more robust public reporting on actual budget execution and financial management.