Coinciding with the Local Government Month and the 35th anniversary of the organization, the Department of the Interior and Local Government-National Capital Region (DILG-NCR) joined the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in launching the ‘OGPinas!’ Philippine Open Government Partnership (PH-OGP) Nationwide Advocacy Campaign on October 11, 2023, at the Skydome, SM North EDSA, Quezon City.

Consistent with the issuance of Executive Order (EO) No. 31, Series of 2023, the event aims to bolster public awareness of the PH-OGP toward fostering multi-stakeholder partnerships and public participation in policy-making and governance in the country. In her keynote message, DBM Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman, who is also the PH-OGP Chairperson, underscored the significance of openness and transparency in governance.

“Through EO 31, the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches—despite being independent of each other—are now working closely to synchronize and complement our open government initiatives. Our mission here for OGPinas is to encourage and instill a culture of transparency, accountability, public participation, and overall, open government in the country,” Secretary Pangandaman said.

DILG at the Forefront of PH-OGP Localization

Representing the DILG as a member of the PH-OGP Steering Committee, Undersecretary for Local Government Marlo L. Iringan, CESO III, emphasized the country’s longstanding commitment to the OGP. In his message of solidarity, Usec. Iringan stated, “The right of citizens to effective and reasonable participation at all levels of social, political, and economic decision-making is protected by our Constitution and the Local Government Code of 1991.”

Since the inception of PH-OGP in 2011, the DILG has been implementing various policies and programs that provide opportunities for engagement with civil society organizations, the private sector, and other key stakeholders at the local level.

“The OGP Local Program is an onboarding program for LGUs to develop and implement local action plans through a multi-stakeholder and co-creation process, which further contributes to a more open, accountable, and responsive government,” Usec. Iringan added, urging local government units to support the localization of PH-OGP.

The launching of OGPinas coincides with the 32nd anniversary of the passage of the Local Government Code of 1991. In a statement, DILG-NCR Regional Director Maria Lourdes L. Agustin, CESO III, associated the OGP with the principles of good governance.

“The Code, in a nutshell, is about good governance. Good governance, in many ways it is defined, is universally characterized by transparency, accountability, participation, and effectiveness in service delivery. These tenets embrace what OGPinas values and advocates for,” Regional Director Agustin said, as conveyed by DILG-NCR Local Government Capability Development Assistant Division Chief Luigi Pilarta.

PH-OGP Champions Recognized

The inaugural OGP Champion Award was also conferred to organizations that promote OGP principles and values. The recipients of the award include the Local Government of Quezon City for the public sector and SM Supermalls for the private sector.

Senior Vice President Bien Mateo of SM Supermalls accepted the award on behalf of Mr. Hans Sy, Executive Committee Chairman of SM Prime Holdings. As an OGP Champion, SM Supermalls was recognized for promoting OGP principles and values through its robust corporate governance and dedication to social responsibility.

The Local Government of Quezon City was also lauded for its landmark achievement of forming the People’s Council through the passage of its Participation, Accountability, and Transparency (PAT) Ordinance. “As public servants, we need to be leaders who prioritize transparency, accountability, and ethical governance to set an example to our constituents and the country’s next generation of leaders,” Quezon City Administrator Michael Victor N. Alimurong stated in accepting the OGP Champion Award for the LGU.

OGP from the Public Lens

More than a hundred participants from the National Capital Region, Region IV-A CALABARZON, Region IV-B MIMAROPA, and Region V-Bicol Region attended the launching event.

Rev. Fr. Arvin Anthony J. Madla, one of the participants from Boac, Marinduque, expressed that OGP sets the platform for the public to actively participate in local governance.

“Ang tao ay lalo pang magiging aktibo sa kanyang pakikisangkot sa paglilingkod na ginagampanan ng mga nanunungkulan. Sa OGPinas, napakaraming take-aways gaya ng maturuan lalo na ang mga nasa grassroots level how they could actively participate in the budget process, sa proseso ng pagdedesisyon patungkol sa mga proyekto, at pakikisangkot sa proseso ng pamahalaan,” Rev. Fr. Madla said.

Meanwhile, Unang Hakbang Foundation, Inc. President Maria Olivia Lucas highlighted OGP’s contribution to strengthening democracy in the country. In her testimony, she said, “We are here to strengthen democracy in our country—a democracy truly of the people, by the people, and for the people; one that works for the benefit of all and acknowledges that all power comes from the people.”