The initial batch of participants for the Public Financial Management Certificate Program (PFMCP) recently completed the Budgeting and Performance Track, PFMCP’s second learning module, last October 20-23 at B Hotel in Quezon City. The B&P Track aims to enhance the ability of the oversight agencies to make better judgments when it comes to scrutinizing the data provided to them by the implementing agencies, and to give an avenue for both offices to fully grasp the weight of each other’s assigned tasks by exchanging roles during their case study simulations.
Aside from discussions on the Budget Cycle Preparation, the class named “Sibol”, which roughly means “to blossom”, also focused on learning about Performance Informed Budgeting (PIB) and the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).
PIB and MTEF
According to Assistant Director Tessie Gregorio from the Fiscal Planning Reforms Bureau (FPRB), Performance Informed Budgeting (PIB) is an approach that uses performance information to assist the government in deciding the funds will go. “Performance information” includes details on the purpose of the funds, the outputs or services that would be produced, the outcomes that would be achieved, and the cost of programs and activities proposed.
“PIB has quantity, quality and timeliness. It is used for agencies that are PFM-matured, meaning, the agencies are able to submit reports to DBM on time. Kasi kung ang agency ‘di nakapag-submit ng report, what does that tell you? It means there must be something wrong,” Gregorio said.
(“PIB has quantity, quality and timeliness. It is used for agencies that are PFM-matured, meaning, the agencies are able to submit reports to DBM on time. Because if an agency can’t submit a report, what does that tell you? It means there must be something wrong.”)
Gregorio pointed out that the problem with the budget’s old face was that the subsection “program” has a long line of description of activities and inputs while the subsection “project” focuses more on numbers and financial data.
However with the introduction of PIB, the reports would now be more output-based and fixated on the results instead of the processes involved. For example, the strategic objectives of an agency, which were usually placed in a separate document before, would now be included on the outputs-based report along with the agencies’ summary of financials they present in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).
DBM Fiscal Planning Reforms Bureau Director Rolando Toledo also presented the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), an annual budgeting approach as part of the class’s budget discussion.
Through MTEF, the oversight and spending agencies hope to improve their fiscal discipline, budgetary predictability, political accountability, credibility of budgetary decision-making, and better inter- and intra-sectoral resource allocation. It names the medium-term fiscal plan, forward estimates and budget priorities framework as the three core processes involved for the MTEF.
“MTEF is an annual three-year expenditure planning and in crafting the budget, we also have to consider these parameters,” Toledo said, pertaining to the three core MTEF processes.
BCP, case studies and debate
Meanwhile, Dr. Milwida “Nene” Guevarra emphasized the importance of decision making as the introduction of the Budget Cycle Preparation was discussed. According to her, it is crucial for agencies to understand that resources are scarce, that these resources also have alternative uses, and that the government is using tax money before any office decides to allocate a budget on a certain project.
“It is important for you to make decisions. Sasalain mo ‘yong data kasi malulunod ka sa information. Kunin ang pinaka-kailangan na details. Cross check and cross validate the data lalo na ‘pag malaki ang figures,” said Guevarra.
(“It is important for you to make decisions. You have to filter the data because you could be overwhelmed by the information. Only get the most important details. Cross check and cross validate the data especially when the figures are too high.”)
On the third day of the session, the Sibol class was divided into four groups wherein a series of problems were given to them for their case studies. In this activity, the spending agency will try to do the work of an oversight agency, and the oversight agency will do otherwise. Their presentations would then be opened for scrutiny and be debated upon on the last day of the session.
“I know for sure that this training gave you the opportunity to learn more not just from talking about the budgeting tools and concepts, but also letting you walk the talk through the different built-in, hands-on activities embedded in the training modules especially the ‘Case Study’,” said Dir. Cristina B. Clasava from the DBM Human Development Section during the closing remarks of the program.
For more information on the PFM Certificate Program, please contact the PFMCP Secretariat at Telefax 736-2773, Trunkline 791-2000 loc. 1108, or email email@example.com.