The Philippines may be new to the open data system but it is already making progress and is now gaining the fruits of this modern system.
Department of Budget and Management (DBM) undersecretary Richard Moya, in a briefing on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) workshop held on Bagac, Bataan, said the country is still in the transition period of digitizing government data.
Moya said that based on initial assessments, the government’s digitization efforts “went well on the barometers”. He did not elaborate on when the first assessment was made but noted that in the subsequent assessment saw “significant improvement”.
President Benigno S. Aquino III, during an event in Google New York in September 2011, announced his intention to use the open government system for the Philippines, citing that “where there is no openness on the part of government, there can be no unity of purpose and action between the people and their leaders.”
“Where government is open with its people, there you will find national solidarity: of purpose, and of action,” he said.
Open Data Philippines was established in line with the government’s open data or open government bid. The Open Data Portal, www.data.gov.ph, provides information about the various programs of government agencies and bidding activities, which can be downloaded. The website contains infographics that would make data more understandable for everyone.
Moya said the open data system ensures transparency since it makes the government accountable for the use of public funds.
He disclosed that due to this system, two public schools have been closed and ordered to transfer to a safer site after they were found to be sitting directly on top of a fault line. “It does not only allow transparency but better service, as well,” he added.
Meanwhile, World Bank Philippines lead economist Rogier van den Brink, said open data enable the public to analyze government data.
“It gives you the power to assess the data being released by the government,” he said.
Van den Brink explained that a modern society could only be achieved if there is direct accountability between citizens and political leaders.
He disclosed that in his country, The Netherlands, about 700 public records have been released so far.
He noted that previously, it was difficult to get information from the government. “It opened huge and new opportunities,” he added. — PNA