October 28, 2017 – “My dream is to make all local governments part of the O[pen] G[overnment] P[artnership] (OGP). In the next six years, we plan to do that.” This was the statement of Department of Budget and Management Secretary (DBM) and Philippine OGP Chair Benjamin E. Diokno during a plenary session at the Making All Voices Count (MAVC) Policy and Practice Dialogue, entitled “Appropriating Technology for Accountability: Lessons from ‘Making All Voices Count’”, held on October 26, 2017 at the University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom.
The dialogue gathered government officials from MAVC priority countries and non-governmental actors advocating for citizen voice and accountable governance on a two-day event aimed at “engaging key audiences with key messages and conclusions about what roles technologies play in citizen voice and transparency for achieving accountable, responsive governance” as well as the best practices for supporting efforts in this mission.
Joining Sec. Diokno in the Philippine delegation were Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar and Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan, DBM-Fiscal Planning and Reforms Bureau Director Rolando Toledo, PH-OGP Secretariat Staff Marianne Fabian, and DBM-Office of the Secretary Executive Assistant Joan Kabigting.
Non-government leaders who were also part of the delegation were PH-OGP Non-Government Secretariat Staff Patrick Lim, Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) Researcher for the Philippines Joy Aceron, MAVC County Engagement Officer for the Philippines Vivien Suerte-Cortez, UP-NCPAG Professor Dr. Erwin Alampay, Web Foundation representative Michael Canares, and Shontoug Foundation representative Marietta Paragas.
The dialogue was divided into several thematic plenary sessions, with some conducted in a “chat show” format where a host asks questions and moderates interchanges among panel speakers and the audience.
As PH-OGP Chair, Sec. Diokno was one of the panel speakers in Plenary 5: “Open Government Partnership”, held on the second day of the dialogue and hosted by Munyema Hasan of the OGP Support Unit . Other panelists were Patrick Lim of INCITE-Gov; Maria Lauranti of PRAKARSA; Suyoto Ngartep Mustaja, Regent at Bojonegoro Regency in Indonesia; and Brendan Halloran of International Budget Partnership/OGP Independent Reporting Mechanism.
During the session, Secretary Diokno and his co-panelists shared their views and experience in sustaining and enhancing the open government mechanism at the national and subnational level.
“Political transition is a reality that must be faced by all government and non-government actors so whenever there is a change in leadership, the new administration should be smart enough to realize that there should be no loss in the momentum. If [the previous administration’s] program is good, adopt it, make it even better. [T]hat is our philosophy, so we embraced open government. It is now the core of President Duterte’s good governance framework,” said Sec. Diokno in response to a question on sustaining OGP during political transitions.
When asked how did the PH-OGP made sure that the reforms it adopted are resonating with the citizen’s priorities, Sec. Diokno cited that the most recent action plan was expanded to include the local initiatives.
“I believe that to make the reforms really attractive and more relevant to the citizens, you really have to go down to the local government level. And, in fact, my dream is to make all local governments part of the OGP. In the next six years, we plan to do that,” said Sec. Diokno.
The MAVC is a partnership programme of Hivos International, a non-profit Dutch organization; Ushahidi, Inc., a non-profit technology company; and the University of Sussex Institute for Development Studies (IDS). MAVC is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the “philanthropic investment firm” Omidyar Network (ON).
In photo: Department of Budget and Management Secretary and Philippine Open Government Partnership Chair Benjamin E. Diokno (leftmost) at the Plenary 5 session of Making All Voices Count (MAVC) Policy and Practice Dialogue: Appropriating Technology for Accountability: Lessons from ‘Making All Voices Count, held on October 26, 2017 at the University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom.
In photo: The Philippine delegation to the Making All Voices Count (MAVC) Policy and Practice Dialogue, taken in front of the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, University of Sussex on 26 October 2017. (left to right) Ms. Vien Cortez, Making All Voices Count; Ms. Marianne Fabian, PH-OGP Secretariat, DBM; Ms. Joan Monique Kabigting, DBM; Ms. Joy Aceron, Making All Voices Count; Sec. Benjamin Diokno, PH-OGP Chair, DBM; Sec. Martin Andanar, PCOO; Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan, PCOO; Mr. Patrick Lim, InciteGov; Dir. Rolando Toledo, PH-OGP Secretariat, DBM; and Dr. Erwin Alampay, University of the Philippines.