Aquino gov't fails in most transparency commitments - report
MANILA - Despite the Aquino government's "Daang Matuwid" policy, the Philippines has only completed three of its 19 commitments to ensure an open and transparent government.
This is based on the Independent Reporting Mechanism of the Philippine commitments to the Open Government Partnership - a voluntary initiative that aims to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies.
The results were announced in a briefing by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism today.
Of the 19, the Philippines has only completed its commitments to:
local poverty reduction by collaborating with local governments and community organizations to develop at least 300 local poverty reduction action plans;
results-based performance by increasing compliance with the seal of good housekeeping to 70% by 2016 and link to grants; and,
harmonized performance based management systems.
On the other hand, the government has limited completion of its commitments to:
- disclose 100% of executive funds and annual procurement plans;
- broader civil society organization engagement: participatory budget roadmap;
- empowerment fund;
- social audit;
- single portal for information;
- integrated financial management system;
- procurement cards: and
- manpower information system.
At the same time, it also noted substantial completion with commitments to:
- the access to information initiative;
- citizens' charters;
- internal audit;
- electronic bidding;
- expand the national household targeting system;
- the “E-tails” or expand the electronic transparency and accountability initiative for lump sum funds; and,
- the Budget ng Bayan - a people's budget website.
The same progress report noted that the departments of agriculture, agrarian reform, education and justice and the Presidential Communications Operations Office did not comply with the commitment to a new power to secure the release of valuable datasets.
It also noted the failed passage of the Freedom of Information bill as hampering the commitment to the access to information initiative.
Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass media Chair Grace Poe, whose panel already sponsored the Senate ‘s FOI bill for plenary deliberation, said: “It is in this area of the Report that we want to assist in terms of compliance. And good signs and optimism may be deduced in the actions and progress of the FOI legislation in the Philippine Senate in the last few weeks…By standard, the action may be considered as swift."
On the other hand, Poe hopes that transparency advocates can lobby at the House of Representatives, where the various FOI bills have been stuck since the opening of the 16th Congress.
Poe said she will seek a meeting with her counterpart at the lower House - Public Information panel head Rep. Jorge Almonte.
Poe acknowledged that the administration has gradually started to implement reforms when it comes to transparency. However, she also said, "little by little we're putting things out there… still not perhaps in the position where we'd like to be. We'd like to have actionable data available not after the fact… this is something the FOI will guarantee.”