The BLGF instituted the policy on local fiscal and financial reporting of all LGUs, through the electronic Statement of Receipts and Expenditures (eSRE) tool to ensure transparency and accountability of LGUs. Instituted as the official reporting system of DOF on local fiscal and financial matters, to be maintained by the BLGF, the eSRE web-based system launched in 2010 established a reliable, accurate and timely reporting and monitoring system for all 81 provinces, 145 cities and 1489 municipalities. Since its adoption, LGUs compliance rose from only 30% in 2013 to 99.7% since 2017 and benefitted national and local stakeholders.
Background and Problem
The eSRE evolved from the basic Budget Operations Statement (BOS) in manual form submitted by the LG Us prior to 2001. From 2001-2008, it became the Statement of Income and Expenditures (SIE) report to include additional accounts that capture more information on local revenues and expenditures to be used in monitoring, policy making, and research. However, the processing and consolidation of the reports were manually or through excel based worksheets. Dealing with native files (e.g. MS Excel workbooks), the reports generated by the LGUs were manually processed and consolidated at the BLGF Regional Offices, before it reached the BLGF Central Office. The time lag for the information to reach full circle (i.e. returning to the LGUs) towards informed decision-making requires at least a two-year cycle. Thus, the BLGF sought solutions to serve its clientele more efficiently and effectively through computerized systems and effective policies.
Solution and Impact
Recognizing the need to harmonize local planning, investment programming, revenue generation, budgeting and expenditure management, the BLGF underscored the importance of linking national agenda (e.g., inclusive growth) to the local governance framework, and this requires systematic provision of local finance data provide to support such goal. With the BLGF mandate, the paradigm shifted towards improved interface between local planning, financial reporting and fiscal performance monitoring – where the eSRE provides the requisite evidence to support data analytics for policy decision making and reforms. The eSRE has undergone improvements over time, including:
- The adoption of a modified SRE format to delineate the roles and responsibilities of oversight agencies;
- Harmonize tools for local governance;
- Performance monitoring and coordination in fiscal oversight; and
- Updating of rules and regulations on the reports of local treasurers and assessors of all LG Us, with specific sanctions for the purpose.
With the deployment of additional eSRE modules on assessment, budget, creditworthiness, and barangay financial statements, the BLGF is now poised to capture more granular local finance data to support accountability, transparency and better governance for the people. The eSRE also serves as a means of verification of key performance indicators of Government in the Philippine Development Plan, and as basis for LGU fiscal performance, setting policy priorities through tax watch ads and recognition, and basis for informing the legislature of needed policy reforms on local finance.
With almost 100% compliance and continual improvements, this best practice enabled greater disclosure of the state of local finance, and now officially a means of verification and reference, such as on locally sourced revenues, national transfers, credit financing, utilization of shares from national wealth, instruments of local governance, and data source for various government and private sector-led recognition programs. The BLGF will further granularize data capture on utilization of education and disaster risk reduction funds.