Tbilisi, Georgia -- DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno led the Philippines’ multi-stakeholder delegation to the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit held July 17-19, 2018.
Secretary Diokno was joined by Commission on Audit Chairperson (COA) Michael Aguinaldo, Philippine Commission on the Urban Poor Chairperson (PCUP) Noel Felongco, and senior officials and representatives from select NGAs, LGUs, and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
The Philippines, a global leader in OGP, was recognized early on in the summit for having sustained its strong commitment to the said international initiative.
“Across the globe, different countries are opening areas that others are closing [....] Others here have skillfully navigated through political transitions, such as Liberia and the Philippines,” OGP Chief Executive officer Sanjay Pradhan said during his opening remarks.
The Philippines led several discussions during the summit and shared the country experience in implementing various open government programs and engaging different stakeholders in the OGP process.
During the Philippine government-led session entitled Towards Real Outcomes and Concrete Benefits: Going Local with OGP and Improving Public Service Delivery, Secretary Diokno talked about the Philippines’ current strategies and future directions in terms of promoting OGP to other line ministries and stakeholders at the subnational level.
“In the first quarter of this year, we gathered local governments and non-government organizations in 78 out of 81 provinces in the country, and we encouraged them to adopt at the local level our open government programs such as the Freedom of Information Initiative, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and 8888 National Complaint’s Hotline, among others,” the Secretary shared.
According to him, five Local Government Units (LGUs) and two Regional Development Councils (RDCs) have committed to localizing open government initiatives.
“At the end of the day, we are doing all of these because we want to make sure that we provide quality public goods and services to our people, especially to the poor and the marginalized. We want programs that leave no one behind,” the Secretary said.
In another session, Marianne Fabian of the Department of Budget and Management and the Philippines’ OGP Point-of-Contact (POC) also shared her insights on establishing effective citizens feedback mechanisms to her fellow country POCs during the POC day of the summit.
She emphasized Secretary Diokno’s key role as a champion early on in the administration as crucial to sustaining OGP efforts in the Philippines.
Mongolia to visit PH to learn OGP practices
Apart from leading a session and providing resource persons to the various Summit events, the Philippine Government took a more proactive role in the summit by co-organizing two bilateral meetings--one with the OGP Leadership and another with the Government of Mongolia.
During Secretary Diokno’s bilateral meeting with Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary of the Mongolian Government, Mr. Erdenesanaa Burenjargal, the PH-OGP Steering Committee Chair agreed to host a study tour for the Mongolian delegation in the coming months. The upcoming visit will provide an avenue for the Mongolians to benchmark on the Philippines’ experience on effective OGP Action Plan implementation, mainstreaming, and localization efforts.
PH-OGP localization efforts recognized by OGP leadership
In another bilateral meeting, OGP Co-Chair Mukelani Dimba, Asia-Pacific Lead Shreya Basu and Director for Civil Society Engagement Paul Maassen has commended the PH-OGP under the leadership of Secretary Diokno for the country’s constant innovation and crucial role in trailblazing open government reforms in the Asia-Pacific region, especially in mainstreaming OGP at the local level.
“We’re trying to learn more lessons from the localization work that the Philippines has done. It’s extremely exciting because this is what we have been asking for, for a long time. Any lessons that we can learn from your approach would be very valuable to the Partnership,” Shreya Basu said.
The OGP Global Summit in Georgia was participated in by representatives from OGP's 76 member countries and 20 subnational government-- heads of state and governments, lead OGP ministers, and other key government and non-government stakeholders.