IN COMPLIANCE WITH TRANSPARENCY SEAL REQUIREMENTS GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT FY 2021
The General Appropriations Act (GAA) for Fiscal Year 2021, released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on 28 December 2020, states in Section 96 the requirements for the Transparency Seal compliance:
To enhance transparency and enforce accountability, all agencies of the government shall maintain a Transparency Seal to be posted on their websites. The Transparency Seal shall contain the following: (i) the agency’s mandates and functions, name of its officials with their position and designation, and contact information; (ii) approved budgets and corresponding targets, immediately upon approval of this Act; (iii) modifications made pursuant to the general and special provisions in this Act: (iv) annual procurement plan/s and contracts awarded with the winning supplier, contractor, or consultant; (v) major activities or projects categorized in accordance with the 0+10 point socioeconomic agenda and the their target beneficiaries; (vi) status of implementation, evaluation, or assessment reports of said programs and projects; (vii) Budget and Financial Accountability Reports; (viii) People’s Freedom of Information (FOI) Manual signed by head of agency, Agency Information Inventory, 2019 and 2020 FOI Summary Report, and 2019 and 2020 FOI Registry; and (ix) annual reports on the status of income authorized by law to be retained or used and be deposited outside of the expenditures, and ending balance for the preceding fiscal year.
A pearl buried inside a tightly-shut shell is practically worthless. Government information is a pearl, meant to be shared with the public in order to maximize its inherent value. The Transparency Seal, depicted by a pearl shining out of an open shell, is a symbol of a policy shift towards openness in access to government information. On the one hand, it hopes to inspire Filipinos in the civil service to be more open to citizen engagement; on the other, to invite the Filipino citizenry to exercise their right to participate in governance.
This initiative is envisioned as a step in the right direction towards solidifying the position of the Philippines as the Pearl of the Orient a shining example for democratic virtue in the region.