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Manila, Philippines – Local and international representatives from government and civil society met during the High Level Regional Conference on Open Government held at the Philippine International Convention Center on August 15, 2017 to discuss Open Government initiatives within the ASEAN region. The Conference is a side event of the Philippines’ Chairmanship of the ASEAN.

Cabinet Secretary LeoncioEvasco Jr. gave the keynote speech while OGP Deputy CEO Joe Powell, Director Jeffrey Lehrer of the Office of Economic Development and Governance of USAID Philippines, and Deputy Minister SlametSoedarsono of Indonesia’s National Development and Planning Ministry gave their respective messages of support.

Secretary Evasco says that the OGP is “part of the Change agenda of the Duterte administration.

DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno, co-chairperson of the PH-OGP Steering Committee, echoed his remarks in an AVP. “[The Philippines’] participation in OGP clearly shows the Duterte administration is determined to deliver on our promise to listen to the people and serve them better”, Secretary Diokno said.

DBM Undersecretary Laura Pascua, alternate co-chairperson, led the discussion during the Regional Roundtable Discussion on Open Government, along with Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) OIC CatalinoCuy and Indonesia Deputy Minister SlametSoedarsono. They were joined by Civil Society participants from the ASEAN Region, namely, PH-OGP Steering Committee Co-Chair (CSO counterpart) Ms. Natalie Christine Jorge, Ms. Lia Toriana of Transparency International Indonesia, Ms. Nwe Win Zin from Myanmar, and Ms. Vien Nguyen from Thailand.

During the same event, the 2017-2019 Philippine Open Government Partnership (PH-OGP) National Action Plan (NAP)was launched and the Memorandum for Understanding for Subnational Commitments was signed.The PH-OGP NAP is the fourth for the country which features 12 commitments that are being led both by government and civil society. The signed MOU for Subnational Commitments, on the other hand, signifiesthe thrust of the current administration to bring down Open Government to the provincial and municipal level. Present at the MOU signing were DILG officials OIC CatalinoCuy and Undersecretary Austere Panadero, League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) Secretary-General Governor Edgardo Chatto of Bohol, Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) OIC Executive Director Crystal Eunice Dela Cruz, and Local Government Representatives.

Questions from audience members were also entertained during the Panel Discussion on Open Government and Participatory Government. The panel was composed of Undersecretary Gloria J. Mercado from the Office of the Cabinet Secretary (OCS), DBM Fiscal Planning and Reforms Bureau (FPRB)  Director Rolando Toledo, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – Facilitating Public Investment Project (FPI) Deputy Chief of Party Bruce Hutchins, and Director Francisco Magno from the Jesse M. Robredo Institute of Governance of De La Salle University, and moderated by Ms. Vivien Suerte-Cortez, Country Engagement Officer of the Making All Voices Count Project.

The conference served as avenue to discuss, recognize and share the best practices in implementing good governance initiatives between and among ASEAN members and selected countries, and to encourage fellow ASEAN member-countries to join the Open Government Partnership.

The OGP is a Washington, DC-headquartered global organization that was established in 2011 through the partnership of eight countries that bid to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and tap new technologies to enhance governance.

The Philippines is among the eight founding members of Open Government Partnership (OGP) and is recognized as a regional champion, having been twice awarded for citizen participation and participatory budgeting in the past.

At present, the Philippines and Indonesia are the two ASEAN members that are part of this global governance transparency initiative.

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