The Philippines has made remarkable achievements in gender-responsive budget policy initiatives, according to a working paper published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Gender budgeting is ideally a fiscal innovation that translates gender-related goals into budgetary commitments. A few countries in the region have begun such efforts, and can help more countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals with regard to gender equality, it explained.
For instance, the legislative mandates for gender budgeting in the Philippines and South Korea are remarkable achievements and are contributing to their efforts.
“The Philippines provides an example of how gender budgeting can be applied at both national and subnational levels,” it said.
The publication noted that gender-responsive budget policy initiatives started at the national level in the Philippines with the Gender and Development (GAD) budget in 1995.
The GAD budget made a provision for earmarking at least 5 percent of all departmental expenditure on programs for women in national and sub-national budgets.
“The GAD budget policy led to formulation of annual gender plans and budgets in all government departments, including their attached agencies, bureaus, state universities and colleges, government owned and controlled corporations, and local government units,” it stated.
Since 1995, the Philippine Commission on Women has been the primary agency of gender budgeting, being the national machinery on women responsible in monitoring the compliance.
Public expenditure analysis of gender has been carried out at the sectoral level, including education, health, environment and climate change, social welfare and protection, peace, and security, the working paper said.
With the subsequent strengthening of the fiscal decentralization process in the Philippines, the paper said local government units were provided with more opportunities for gender budgeting, and encountered more challenges as well.
“The devolution of basic functions like health, social welfare, and agricultural extension to these units in 1991 created more space to address gender needs at the local level,” it said.
Gender budget initiatives at the local level can be found in a few local units in the Philippines, particularly in Sorsogon and Hilongos, where selective attempts were made to identify specific gender needs before drafting a budget, it said.
These initiatives, which came from the Department of Interior and Local Government and the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women, with the support of UNIFEM (UN Women) in 2004, identified entry points for results-oriented gender budgeting.
“In Sorsogon, the initiative was taken in the health sector, where gender-related Millennium Development Goal health goals were identified and budgeted. In Hilongos, the initiative was taken in the agriculture sector,” it said.
The IMF said the working paper describes research in progress by the authors and is published to elicit comments and to encourage debate, and is not necessarily representative of the views or policy of the IMF.