Open, honest, transparent governance pushed anew PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 04 November 2013 14:40

Reinforcing the Aquino administration’s platform of transparent and open leadership, six delegates from the Philippine government were in London for the Open Government Partnership’s (OGP) Summit from October 31 to November 1. They have brought with them nine commitments designed to strengthen transparency, accountability, and openness in the Philippine bureaucracy.

Continuing commitments by the Administration include sustaining transparency in national government plans and budget-related matters and processes, supporting the passage of legislation on access to information and protection of whistleblowers, engaging civil society in public audit, and enhancing performance benchmarks for local governance.

Additionally, the Philippine government is continuing its commitment to enhance the government procurement system and strengthen grassroots participation in local planning and budgeting.

New commitments, on the other hand, include providing more accessible government data in a single portal and open format, initiating fiscal transparency in the extractive industry, and improving the ease of doing business in the Philippines.

“As a founding government of the OGP, the Philippines’ attendance to the 2013 summit is an expression not only of our desire to strengthen our existing commitments, but also to introduce new ways of opening the government up to increased transparency and citizen participation. We in DBM support the delegation that is now in London, especially because most of our country commitments are directly related to the Aquino administration’s fiscal transparency agenda,” said Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, speaking from Manila.

The Philippine delegation includes Presidential Spokesperson Sec. Edwin Lacierda, DBM Undersecretary and Chief Information Officer Richard Moya, DBM Fiscal Planning Bureau Director Rolando Toledo, and Budget Technical Service Director Carmencita Mahinay.

The Summit is being attended by over 1,000 people, representing governments with populations of 1.94 billion and hundreds of civil society and multilateral organizations. The 61 governments have made a total of 1,078 commitments, which will further greater transparency, accountability and/or citizen engagement. At a global level, highlights of the Summit include:

The expansion of this unique group to 61 countries, with New Zealand becoming the latest country to express its intent to join OGP. Other countries who have done so in recent months include Australia, Ireland and Malawi.

Each government coming to London will announce a new ambitious open government commitment, either to be integrated into their next OGP action plan or an enhanced commitment from their current plan.The Bright Spots competition which will see seven impressive individuals, from seven different countries, share their success stories in a seven minute talk on the main stage. The crowd will have the chance to vote on the most inspiring talk.

The launch of the first Progress Reports for the eight founding OGP countries – Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States. These are produced by a new tough accountability instrument – the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) – a unique body which provides a comprehensive account of each country’s progress toward meeting its OGP commitments.

The launch of a new Open Government Awards competition to recognize public programs in OGP participating countries for their efforts to become more open, accountable and responsive to citizens. The inaugural competition in 2014 will focus on the theme of citizen engagement.

“The goal to establish honest, effective and responsive governance is universal and more urgent than ever. It’s clear that Filipinos are ready to become our active partners in transforming government, and we recognize that we must open up the Philippine bureaucracy even further to make that possible. Our commitments are designed to improve public services, drive economic growth, reduce poverty and corruption, and restore public faith in government through crucial and well-designed budget reforms,” Undersecretary Richard Moya said.

“The OGP Summit is a timely opportunity for the Aquino administration to reinforce its campaign for transparency, accountability, and openness in the Philippine government. We look forward to sharing our insights and studying best practices on open governance as presented by other governments and civil society organizations, and to tailor these to the Philippines’ own political and cultural climate,” Sec. Edwin Lacierda said.

The international community has rallied around OGP, with four leading multilateral organizations—the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and United Nations Development Programme—helping to mobilize new investments and technical support to strengthen open government reforms across the world. (DBM)