NATIONAL BUDGET CIRCULAR 542
National Budget Circular 542, issued by the Department of Budget and Management on August 29, 2012, reiterates compliance with Section 93 of the General Appropriations Act of FY2017. Section 93 is the Transparency Seal provision, to wit: To enhance transparency and enforce accountability, all agencies of the government shall maintain a transparency seal to be posted on their official websites. The transparency seal shall contain the following: (i) the agency’s mandates and functions, names 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 provision in this Act; (iv) annual procurement plan/s and contracts with the winning supplier, contractor or consultant; (v) major programs and projects categorized in accordance with the five key results areas under E.O. No. 43, s. 2011 and their target beneficiaries; (vi) status of implementation, evaluation and/or assessment reports of said programs and projects; (vii) Budget and Financial Accountability Reports, pursuant to COA and DBM J.C. No. 2014-1 dated July 1, 2014; and (viii) annual reports on the status of income authorized by law to be retained and/or used and be deposited outside of the National Treasury, which shall include the legal basis for its retention and/or use, the beginning balance, income collected and its sources, 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.