After a most divisive election period, we are called to seek avenues for collaborative action between government and private sector, that we may refocus ourselves to getting our collective trust back for a new political administration. Our hope is that our new set of government leaders will practice good governance authentically as an anchor to restorative national unity in pursuit of our desired economic recovery.
The ongoing Philippine Open Government Partnership (PH-OGP) is the promising, proven space for government-private sector collaboration serving, as we might propose, like a “bridge over troubled waters”.
The Philippine Open GovernmentPartnership (PH-OGP) provides an institutionalized venue for government and private sector to work together and promote good governance in public affairs. More specifically, the OGP principles of civic participation, transparency, fighting corruption, empowering citizens, and leveraging the use of technology to strengthen governance are those fostered through specific projects detailed in the National Action Plans.
Every cycle of three years, the PH-OGP National Steering Committee chooses vetted projects or programs which embed Commitments by participating government agencies to pursue activities that prominently include as component the promotion of OGP principles. These activities fulfill the criteria of SMART, i.e. they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. These projects and programs are co-created by the government agency making the commitment and the civil society organization (CSO) that was chosen to be the partner to monitor the performance forcommitments.
There is an independent reporting mechanism (IRM) for the evaluation of accomplishment, and end-of-cycle accomplishments are reported to an international body. There are now 79 countries in this worldwide OGP community. The Philippines was one of the nine founding-convenor countries in 2011.
To get a better understanding of OGP principles translated to a specific project, let us look at our Commitment in the Philippines’ 2019-2022 Action Plans (there are 11 Commitments): The Participatory Monitoring of Last Mile Schools. Here, DepEd commits to adopt a participatory monitoring and evaluation platform, through the participation of community stakeholders and CSOs to complement the work of DepEd in ensuring the needs and gaps of delivering basic education inputs of Last Mile Schools (LMS).
LMSs have these characteristics: a) have less than 4 classrooms which are makeshift or non-standard; b) have not been allocated funds for repairs or new construction in the last 4 years; c) have multi-grade classes/rooms; d) with less than 5 teachers; e) a student population of less than 100 learners; f) no electricity; g) with more than 75% Indigenous People leaners; and h) with travel distance of more than one hour from town center or with difficulty of terrain. There were 9,225 LMSs as of September 2019.
This Commitment is relevant to OGP values in terms of increasing access to information through the publication of basic education data, mobilizing civic participation through the participatory monitoring platform, and enhancing public accountability with the aim of responding to gaps in education service delivery identified through citizen feedback. The Commitment aims to institutionalize participatory monitoring rather than engage CSOs in a one-time project.
We can see here that this OGP commitment addresses the very real immediate concerns of, by now, perhaps almost a million Filipino children who are under-served in basic education. What a waste of human resources and human development potential. And how unfair to these children. The OGP partner or partners work with the local communities to identify the specific needs of the LMS, assist in the effort to generate local resources, advocate for national budget allocations, and help in the delivery of the needed services to the LMS. In other words, OGP provides the structure of collaboration the DepEd needs. Without this structure or arrangement, these LMSchools will be forever in the laylayan.
Santiago F. Dumlao Jr., past president of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, is the current Secretary-General of the Association of Credit Rating Agencies in Asia.
The opinion expressed herein does not necessarily reflect the views of these institutions and Manila Bulletin. Know more about #FINEXPhils through www.finex.org.ph.