With a boost from Sen. Panfilo "Ping" M. Lacson, civil society groups managed to help scrutinize and make the P5.024-trillion proposed budget for 2022 more responsive to people's needs.
Social Watch Philippines and the Alternative Budget Initiative wrote Lacson on Nov. 10, thanking him for endorsing their participation in the Senate Finance Committee hearings on the budget.
"We hope that you will continue to support our inclusive budget proposals that focus on the needs of the country’s most marginalized sectors, especially since they are the ones that were most affected by the pandemic, by sponsoring before the plenary deliberations and incorporating into the good Senator’s budgetary amendments to the FY 2022 General Appropriations Bill," co-convenors Rene Raya, Ma. VIctoria Raquiza and Jessica Cantos said in a letter to Lacson.
They also commended Lacson for all his efforts in serving the country, as well as for believing in what Social Watch Philippines-Alternative Budget Initiative stands for.
Earlier, Lacson endorsed the SWP-ABI's participation in the committee hearings of the Senate finance committee chaired by Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, on the budget bill.
Lacson also supported their "Budget Serye sa Senado" discussion on the budget, where he delivered the message that the pandemic underscores the need for an inclusive national budget.
In 2019, Lacson filed Senate Bill 24, the “People’s Participation in the National Budget Process Act of 2019,” that provides privileges and incentives for accredited groups that take part in the budgeting process.
This aims to keep greedy parties from inserting “pork” and other inappropriate items into the national budget - as well as institutionalize the collaboration of legislature and civil society “to achieve a people-oriented budget as well as establish transparency and accountability in the budget process.”