Senator Win Gatchalian is pushing for the passage of legislation which would promote greater transparency in the government’s monetary and fiscal policy direction through strict congressional oversight and mandatory disclosure of information to the public.
Senate Bill No. 1483, otherwise known as the Fiscal and Monetary Report Act of 2017, mandates the Secretaries of the Department of Finance (DOF), the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and the Department of Budget Management (DBM), as well as the Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), to present economic situationer reports before a joint session of Congress twice per year.
The reports shall cover the status and directions of the fiscal and monetary policies of the government, economic developments and prospects for the future, taking into account past and prospective developments in employment, unemployment, production, investment, real income, productivity, exchange rates, international trade and payments, and prices.
The joint session will be attended by the Committees on Appropriations, Ways and Means, Economic Affairs, and Banks and Financial Intermediaries of the House of Representatives. The Senate, on the other hand, will be represented by the Committees on Finance, Ways and Means, Economic Affairs, and Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies.
“This would ensure that Congress is kept abreast on the current position and direction of the government’s fiscal and monetary policies, especially with regard to the accumulation of foreign debt that could impact the country’s economic stability,” said Gatchalian, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs, during his sponsorship speech for the measure last week.
The senator added that the biannual reports would also serve as a stronger fiscal accountability measure compared to the present system, where the reports of DOF and BSP to Congress during the annual budget season are limited to inputs required for budget analysis.
Meanwhile, in line with “the declared policy of the State…to submit full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest as provided under the Constitution,” the reporting departments will also be mandated to make available copies of the reports submitted to Congress on their official websites within seven (7) working days following the submission of their respective reports.
Senate Bill No. 1483 is the product of public hearings held by the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs to discuss legislation principally authored by Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto.