Manila, Philippines - Around 100 representatives from National Government Agencies, Local Government Units, and Civil Society Organizations have once again gathered for the Philippine celebration of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Week held at the Department of Budget Management Central Office last May 8-9, 2018.
The Philippines is one of the founding members of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a unique international initiative aimed at securing concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, increase civic participation, fight corruption, and harness new technologies that strengthen governance.
With the theme: “OGP Going Local: Bringing Government Closer to the Citizens”, the OGP Week celebration aimed to showcase successful localization efforts on open governance and transparency initiatives of government at the national and local government level, and explore the co-creation of new OGP subnational commitments for the next OGP action plan development cycle.
DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Chairperson of the PH-OGP Steering Committee, gave the keynote address during the event.
In his address, he acknowledged that many LGUs are already implementing participatory governance initiatives in their own communities, but that "leveraging [these] through the OGP platform can allow [them] to boost [their] goals and accelerate [their] reforms".
Three such LGUs are the Provincial LGUs of Albay, Bohol and Surigao del Norte whose officials led a panel discussion during the event. Vice Governor Junjun Egay Jr. of Surigao del Norte, Sangguniang Panlalawigan Secretary Grace Magdamit of PLGU Albay, and PLGU Chief of Staff Ms. Liza Quirog of Bohol presented the current status of a pilot subnational program on Open Local Legislation under the fourth PH-OGP National Action Plan.
Following the panel discussion was a presentation of the subnational components of national OGP commitments such as the Freedom of Information Program, 8888 Hotline, and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. These components were subsequently adopted by Legazpi City, and the provinces of Albay, Bohol, Surigao del Norte, and South Cotabato, as a result of a co-creation workshop during the last day of the forum.
The event was capped off with exploratory discussions on possible new commitments, such as Open Extractives and Open Contracting for the next PH-OGP national action plan.
In her Closing Remarks, Ms. Andrea Maria Patricia Sarenas of MINCODE, Co-Chair of the PH-OGP Steering Committee, highlighted how the Philippines’ experience in implementing open government reforms was held in such high esteem in the international development space.
“This is because we have done so much goodness, and we continue to do good things that other countries are learning from. So let’s keep it up. Let’s not get lazy. Let’s keep on pushing,” Ms. Sarenas stressed.
The Philippine celebration of OGP is part of a global celebration of OGP week, and is jointly organized by the Department of Budget and Management, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Presidential Communications Operations Office, Department of Finance Philippine Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative, Hivos, CODE-NGO, and Bantay Kita.