Nograles: Duterte not a dictator but ‘champion of transparency’

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The Philippines’ ranking as number one in Asia in terms of budget transparency refutes claims by critics that the Duterte administration is a despotic regime, according to House committee on appropriations chairman Karlo Nograles.

“This will be a bitter pill for administration critics to swallow, but the survey ranking is proof that President Rodrigo Duterte is a champion of transparency. His actions and policies are consistent with this fact,” noted Nograles.

The Davao City lawmaker cited the results of the Open Budget Survey (OBS) 2017, in which the Philippines garnered a transparency or open budget index (OBI) score of 67/100, placing it in the top spot of the category in Asia and 19th worldwide.

The score is way above the global average of 42, Nograles said.

The survey is held every two years, meaning it has covered the majority of Duterte’s tenure so far.

“How can you have a dictator for a president while his government is also considered as one of the world’s most transparent? The country’s sound fiscal and budget policies emanate from the Office of the President, and is only put into practice by the Department of Budget and Management and of course the House of Representatives which possess the power of the purse,” said Nograles.

Duterte assumed the Palace seat on June 30, 2016 following his landslide victory in the elections that same year.

Just 23 days after his inauguration, President Duterte gave transparency in government a boost by signing Executive Order No. 2, also known as the Freedom of Information (FOI) Order.

The directive marked the first FOI law in the Philippines covering all government offices under the Executive Branch.

“What the previous presidents failed to do in their six-year terms, President Duterte did in less than a month. The FOI directive is conveniently being forgotten by administration attackers but they are among those who benefit from it,” Nograles said.