With the recent approval of the Good Governance and Anti-Corruption Plan by President Aquino, the Philippines is continuing to map out its country action plan to address key open governance and transparency issues. The plan designates government officials to focus on several major result areas, one of which is the Cabinet Cluster on Good Governance and Anti-Corruption (GGAC). The GGAC will focus on institutionalizing “open, transparent, accountable and participatory governance.”
The GGAC Plan, developed in tandem with the domestic Open Government Partnership process with input from civil society networks, business associations, and donor partners over the past six months, includes the following strategic objectives:
- To curb corruption
- To improve the delivery of public services
- To enhance the business and economic environment
Three pillars of open governance—transparency, accountability, and participation—form the basis for the Plan, with each pillar encompassing action-oriented programs and representing a commitment to the OGP principles
at all levels of government. According to President Aquino, “Our administration defines accountability in two ways: as a commitment to uphold the highest ethical standards in government, and as an obligation to achieve measurable performance targets and outcomes.”
An initial success has been a directive by President Aquino to the government’s cabinet ministers to pass the Freedom of Information Act, which has languished in the Congress for over a decade. Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad asserted that the pursuit of greater public access to information is an integral element of the GGAC. “President Aquino believes that we can curb corruption more successfully and strengthen public institutions if citizens are given greater access to official information. Moreover, freedom of information—limited only by a few legitimate areas of confidentiality—will empower the people to hold their leaders accountable and get actively involved in governance,” he said.
However, the Government recognizes that an FOI Act alone will not improve access to information. Under the GGAC Plan, the country is pursuing other initiatives to enable meaningful freedom of information, including technologies that will automate the processing and public disclosure of data.
In addition, the GGAC Plan hopes to contribute to greater emphasis on fiscal discipline, including public expenditure reforms in the proposed 2013 National Budget
, and a new way of preparing the national budget that incorporates public input and uses a breakthrough ‘bottom-up’ approach. “The Aquino administration’s commitment to good governance is meant to rebuild both the people’s trust in government and the institutions once crippled by corruption. By shaping key reforms in public expenditure management, we can strengthen our bid for transparency and procedural efficiency, as well as promote an attractive, investor-friendly fiscal environment,” Abad added.
To continue and further strengthen engagement with non-government stakeholders, the government will be formalizing a Philippine Open Government Partnership by March 2012, which will provide a standing forum for regular public consultation on OGP implementation and related open government issues. Government and civil society representatives from the Philippines will also will be attending the upcoming OGP Annual Meeting in April 2012, where they will be engaging with other OGP countries and sharing updates on how the GGAC is being implemented. go to Source