Tech and Business

What Happened to our

COVID Budget? This Website

Run by Volunteers Keeps

Us On Track

by Anne Marielle Eugenio, May 22, 2020 8:32am

Art by Ahl Mirambel

Tech and Business

What Happened to our COVID Budget? This Website Run by Volunteers Keeps Us On Track

by Anne Marielle Eugenio, May 22, 2020 8:32am
Art by Ahl Mirambel
 

We’re bombarded with different news on social media in this time of COVID-19. News about MECQ adjustments, POGO, social distancing violations, and mass testing fill our feeds. But I’m sure we’re all concerned about this one thing: where do our COVID funds go?

Two months have passed and most of us are clueless on how the government allocated the budget to address the COVID-19 crisis. As taxpayers, we should be aware of how authorities spend the fund to alleviate the effects of the pandemic. This is what the Citizens' Budget Tracker aims to do.

Turning Data in Reports for the Public

Citizens’ Budget Tracker is an online platform that promotes accountability and makes sure our funds to address the COVID-19 crisis are spent properly and timely. It is an initiative started by a group of volunteers aiming to make the public aware and hold our government accountable for the fund it releases to address the current crisis.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Citizens' Budget Tracker (@covidbudget.ph) on

One the government releases reports and documents, the people behind Citizens’ Budget Tracker analyzes and encodes the data. They turn the data into reports, which are then promoted online.

The Water-Bucket-Garden Analogy

The tracker releases information about budget sources and expenditure. They likened budgeting to watering a garden wherein water represents cash, the bucket represents the line item, the flowers represents the public, and the gardeners represent the public servants.

We get funds from government corporations, the Central Bank, treasury bills and bonds, loans and grants, and revenues. You can see the whole breakdown here. The budget is distributed to national departments and local revenues.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Citizens' Budget Tracker (@covidbudget.ph) on

Citizens’ Budget Tracker would like to stress we have 380 billion pesos under the Bayanihan Act, not 275 billion. This includes social amelioration (270B); health funds (73B); and Bayanihan grant for local government units (37B). But right now, the authorities are not “watering the gardens” fast enough. As of May 11, Only 73% of beneficiaries for social amelioration have been served. For social amelioration and health, only 35% has been spent.

It’s about time we should be aware of how our funds are being allocated. In this way, we won’t be blind to our current issues and be carried away by fake news. Let’s stop turning the other cheek just because we have enough to supply our needs. The Citizens’ Budget Tracker offers us the chance to educate ourselves.

 

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