The Citizen Participatory Program (CPA) of the Commission on Audit (COA) bested 45 other program nominations from across the globe and emerged as the first-place winner in Asia and the Pacific Region in the OGP Impact Awards presented during the opening plenary session of the OGP Global Summit held in Seoul, South Korea and online via ogpsummit.org last December 15, 2021. The OGP Impact Awards was launched together with the OGP Local Innovation Awards as part of the 10th anniversary celebration of OGP in commemoration of the hard work of open government champions and reformers from its 79 member countries advocating for transparency, accountability, and citizen participation in public governance.
The CPA program was piloted in November 2012 as a strategy of the Commission to improve civic participation in the public audit process. In the same year, the CPA was also identified as one of the priority activities under the Philippines-Australia Public Financial Management (PFM) Program. The CPA was also recognized in the first OGP Bright Spots during the annual summit held in London in 2013. Through the CPA, the Philippines was recognized to be the only country in the world where its citizen is part of the state auditing team. Subsequently, the Program was enrolled in the Philippine Open Government Partnership (PH-OGP) National Action Plans (NAPs) since its first action plan in 2012.
The CPA is built on the idea that an involved citizenry increases the level of accountability in government. It demonstrates the principles of public participation by having individuals selected from civil society organizations (CSOs), referred to as “citizen auditors” to participate in the audit process and to act as force-multipliers. This has supported COA in ensuring the prudent utilization of public resources which has helped the government improve its operations.
According to the end-of-term report published by the Independent Reporting Mechanism’s (IRM)[i] on the assessment of the Philippine Open Government Partnership National Action Plan 2015-2017, the CPA has received a major rating on public accountability as testament to the Commission’s evaluation that the direct involvement of the citizens has led to positive gains such as faster implementation of recommendations and improved openness of public institutions on audit reports. The Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP) also underscored in the same report that the CPA Program has provided opportunities for CSOs to participate in the audit process and has incited a timelier response from the government on audit findings.
Since its inception, the CPA completed engagements on flood control, disaster relief, solid waste management, and farm-to-market roads. The program was institutionalized through COA Resolution No. 2019-006 dated February 1, 2018 and is currently part of the 5th PH-OGP National Action Plan 2019-2022 under the shared commitment on Stakeholders Engagement in Harnessing the Value of PhilGEPS Data together with the Procurement Service-Philippine Government Electronic Procurement Services (PS-PHILGEPS). In recognition to this victory, the PH-OGP Steering Committee issued PH-OGP Resolution No. 1 s. 2022 to congratulate and commend COA for this international recognition.