Citizens’ groups engage in crafting 2014 DENR budget

VARIOUS CITIZENS’ GROUPS are engaging in the participatory process for crafting the Department of Environment and Natural Resources budget for next year as part of the 2014 General Appropriations Act (GAA) proposal now being prepared by the Aquino administration.

This was announced today by La Liga Policy Institute, member of the Alternative Budget Initiative (ABI), a budget advocacy network led by Social Watch Philippines (SWP) which is the DENR’s budget partner among civil society organizations (CSOs). La Liga serves as convenor of the Environment Cluster of ABI, consisting of more than 60 non-government organizations (NGOs), people’s organizations and individual advocates.

“For the first time in the history of alternative budget advocacy for the environment sector, the DENR opened up its budget preparation process to participation of different civil society organizations where citizens’ generated plans, project and budget proposals can begin to be integrated into the upcoming Department budget,” La Liga President and Managing Director Roland Cabigas said, as the various groups troop to the “Citizens’ Participation for the Crafting of the 2014 DENR Budget Thematic Budget Dialogue” today, April 5, at the DENR main office in Quezon City.

He added, “Participatory budgeting is not only a means to ensure transparent and responsive environment governance but, more importantly, we are hopeful that this will lead to more efficient and effective budget allocation and resources for critical and urgently needed environment protection and rehabilitation programs.

DENR Bureaus and offices and various citizens’ organizations are expected to come together to discuss priority themes such as Green Environment (relating to the National Greening Program, forest protection, community-based forest management, protected areas/watershed, etc.); Blue Environment (coasts and rivers, marine protected areas, marine protection, mangrove areas); and, Brown Environment (solid waste management, clean air and mining), with climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction as cross-cutting thematic discussions.

“While we highly appreciate the budget reforms undertaken by the DENR and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), we are exploring ways to ensure that citizens’ participation in crafting the DENR budget be regularized and hopefully institutionalized, at the same time we hope to see participation conducted not only at the national level but at the regional and local level as well” Cabigas concluded.

ABI Envi Cluster members include: La Liga, Alyansa Tigil Mina, AMRSP-JPICC, Earth Day Network, Earth Savers Movement, EcoWaste Coalition, First Philippine Conservation Incorporated (FPCI), Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE), Haribon Foundation, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, Mother Earth Foundation, Healthcare without Borders, Kilusan Para sa Makatarungang Lipunan at Gobyerno (KMLG), No-Burn Coalition, KAAKBAY, Partido Kalikasan Institute (PKI), Partnership for Clean Air (PCA), Phil. Federation for Environmental Concerns (PFEC), Phil. Network on Climate Change (PNCC), Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), Saganang Buhay sa Liga ng Bayan Foundation (SBSB), Sustainability Watch, Upholding Life and Nature (ULAN), Tambuyog and Tanggol Kalikasan.

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