Day 1, August 22, 2023
The Chairperson of the GFMIC 14th Annual National Convention and 2023 Membership Conference, Ms. Luzvi Pangan Chatto, declared the convention open at 9:30 am.
The GFMIC President, Ms. Cecilia B. Camon, gave her opening remarks and delivered the President’s Report. She highlighted that despite the ongoing pandemic, the GFMIC continued to reach out to its members offering them continuing professional development and updates with our webinars and starting this year, our face-to-face seminars. She reported that “the Board of Trustees, the members and participants that GFMIC has significantly accomplished its planned program and activities during the year from January 2023 to August 20, 2023 for a period of barely 7 months and 20 days. Still we have more than four months to accomplish more and complete the planned activities of GFMIC”. “Through the years”, she continued, “GFMIC, has distinguished itself as an effective arm in pursuing the objectives of financial management reforms and live up to what the Securities and Exchange Commission referred to us as “Organization Development Champion”.
The GFMIC Chairperson, Dr. Carmela S. Perez, then welcomed us all to this year’s Annual National Convention and Membership Conference with the theme: “Advocating Green and Sustainable Public Financial Management Reforms”. She said, “By advocating green and sustainable financial management, we recognize the importance of aligning financial decisions with environmental and social values. By integrating sustainability into financial practices, economic institutions, companies, investors and government agencies and the people can contribute to a more sustainable and resilient economy while still achieving their financial objectives. This organization is mindful of this advocacy as we integrate this in our programs, projects and activities… As an outcome of the convention, we hope to generate resolutions which we will address to the agencies and officials concerned for consideration and action”.
Come to think of it, we are the only organization I know which has highlighted the importance of advocating “green” in the mainstream of public financial management.
Chairperson Perez then introduced our host, City Mayor Abraham Tolentino who unfortunately couldn’t make it personally but was ably represented by the City Administrator, Ms. Alma Malabanan. Ms. Malabanan then turned over the symbolic key of the City of Tagaytay, which Chairperson Perez and President Camon accepted on behalf of the GFMIC family and this convention and membership conference. What’s more, we were witnesses to the City’s hospitality, as we were treated to a spectacular dance number by the city’s science high school students.
Our GFMIC Deputy Treasurer, Atty. Richard Fulleros, then proceeded to announce the rules for the annual election of the seats of the GFMIC Board of Trustees that will be vacated this year. The actual election will happen on the third day of this joint convention and membership conference. All those who are eligible and willing are encouraged to signify their intention to join the GFMIC Board of Trustees.
We then proceeded to the highlight of the day with the presentation of the first technical session of the convention on Green Budgeting. Our resource speaker, Dr. Jojit Basilio of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) gave us a comprehensive lecture on the efforts of the national government in incorporating climate-related and risk-mitigation issues in the budgeting process and how each of us should consciously incorporate climate change expenditure tagging (CCET) in all programs or projects whose main objective or one of its objectives explicitly articulates climate change adaptation or mitigation. Dr. Basilio assured us that “The implementation of the climate budgeting system over the years has begun to transform climate policy and programming decisions at the NGA, inter-agency, LGU, and national oversight agency levels.”
This was followed by an equally interesting second technical session conducted by the Deputy Treasurer of the Philippines (DTOP), Atty. Erwin Sta. Ana, who talked about the government’s sustainable finance framework. A fairly new concept that he introduced to us is borrowing for and funding “ESG” which stands for Environment (which relates to quality and functioning of the natural environment/systems; examples of which are Climate Change, Environmental Management, Biodiversity, Water efficiency, carbon management), Social (which relates to rights,
well-being and interests of people and communities; examples of which are Employment, Education, Health and Safety), and Governance (which relates to the management of investee entities such as Ethics, Compliance, Compensation, Corruption and Bribery, Diversity).
What is comforting to note is that we are far from the proverbial “the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing”. Our efforts to incorporate the green in budgeting by DBM is further strengthened by the solid and sustainable finance framework carried out by our Bureau of the Treasury. DTOP Erwin assured us that we shall be able to pay our national debts … in due time.
The day was capped with the keynote speech of no other than our DBM Sec. Amenah Pangandaman. She echoed what PBBM articulated in his latest SONA. “We can never lose sight of our responsibility to the future. The economic agenda cannot and will not ever be incompatible with our climate change agenda.”
She then proceeded to state that “Throughout the budget process, we have been tagging our climate change expenditures, enabling policy makers to better understand the scope and distribution of our climate action. It also provides much-needed evidence of our institutional readiness for scaling up climate finance in the country. This has increased the awareness of national government agencies and local government units to craft climate-and-disaster-responsive budgets. More importantly, climate actions have been mainstreamed and institutionalized in our development plan and the National Budget.”