Again, to recall, the Philippine Open Government Partnership (PH-OGP) “aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness technologies to strengthen governance”. These appear to be such big words. Motherhood statements, we might say, perhaps deserving just to be ignored into insignificance.
What a cynic you are, dear reader, if you trap yourself into this kind of dismissive thinking. The PH-OGP program is working and is already producing some desired outcomes. The 2017-2019 Fourth National Action Plan (NAP) has been developed through nation-wide convened consultations with concerned government agencies and civil society organizations (CSOs), and is in its final round of open consultations.
There are several reasons the PH-OGP is working.
First, the Duterte administration is supportive of the effort and has committed resources, coupling the PH-OGP to President Duterte’s change agenda to deepen the consultation process. Note that Executive Order 9 (December 1, 2016) created the Office of Participatory Governance to promote active citizenship, inclusiveness, transparency and accountability in governance by engaging different stakeholders to participate in governance and nation-building efforts. Executive Order 24 (May 16, 2017) created the Participatory Governance Cluster of the Cabinet that is mandated to exert all efforts to enhance citizen participation in government processes.
Second, the PH-OGP pinpoints specific projects, identifies specific measurable outcomes, exacts commitments from specifically engaged government agencies, establishes counterpart commitments from CSOs matched to the specific project and performance is monitored and evaluated and reported to the PH-OGP Steering Committee, and shared with all stakeholders, including international partners and affiliated organizations. There are continuing regular meetings among designated point organizations/point persons to track the progress of fulfilling commitments, and there is a midterm and an end-term assessment of the PH-OGP NAP which is formulated for two-year implementation cycles.
Third, the PH-OGP has established a secretariat, one government Secretariat administered by a specific DBM work unit; and another non-governmental secretariat. This has enabled the stakeholders, and particularly the steering committee, to comprehensively record all consultations; to document all contributed opinions, discussions and decisions; and to organize all these in reports which conveniently enable recipients to take necessary action and for readers to engage in citizenship participation. These secretariat reports help consolidate one’s thinking and are available at the PH-OGP web site.
Fourth, there is a national steering committee, now meeting more frequently, to process the many inputs of the various government and non-governmental stakeholders, in the development, implementation, monitoring and assessment of the NAP.
Fifth, of course, is the purposeful engagement of the private sector, including representatives from business and academe, but most specifically, the CSOs, many of whom have been involved working with the government in various fronts of reform.
I’ve had some experience joining workshops with these CSOs and they are passionate with what they’re doing, they’re an insistent lot, and can’t be discouraged about their advocacies. It is apropos, therefore, to title the PH-OGP NAP 2017-2019 as: “Co-Creating Governance Outcomes with the Filipino People”.
Be curious about PH-OGP.