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Open data and citizen engagement, Philippines

Date added: July 5, 2017

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Benigno Aquino III ran for the position of President of the Philippines in 2010, with a campaign slogan of "Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap" (when there is no corruption, there is no poverty). Following his win, his administration initiated reforms in government that focused on improving financial management, budget transparency, government procurement, and local government transparency. Key among these was in 2011 when the Philippines became one of the founding partners of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), which aimed to provide an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens.

This case study explores the introduction and implementation of open data by the Government of the Philippines. It first presents the government's enabling motivations and how the programme was conceived, then looks into the introduction and implementation of open data in the Philippines using Anthony Giddens’ theory of structuration as the analytical lens. It focuses on the key policy, technology, data, and public engagement components of the Open Data Philippines (ODP) implementation, including significant milestones and critical issues.

The findings of the study show that although open data has huge potential to transform e-governance, such potential has not been maximised. One reason is the lack of appreciation of the relevance and usefulness of open data, both by the public and by some officers of key government agencies. This translates to the question of how relevant the published data is to these stakeholders, how it has been used and how it could have been used. Some of the barriers that prevent government agencies from embracing an overall culture of openness are buried and ingrained into organisational cultures and therefore require deep-reaching institutional reforms. Research highlights the limited involvement of the public in activities related to open data. Although some forms of public consultation were conducted, participation was limited to a select group, largely because of a deliberate recalibration of the Open Data Task Force’s uptake strategy.

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