DBM:Aquino administration bound to open governance via social contract with the people

A January 20, 2011 press release prepared by the Department of Budget Management

Secretary Abad to represent PHL in small group meeting on international open government initiative

Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad leaves for Washington, DC today to represent the Philippine government in a small group meeting on the International Open Government Initiative that US President Barack Obama is spearheading.

“The Aquino Administration has already bound itself to pursuing transparent, participative and accountable governance. This is by virtue of the President’s Social Contract with the Filipino People of “kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap,” he said.

“In my trip to Washington, I intend to take home innovative ideas and best practices that we may apply in our pursuit of a transparent, participative and accountable government. And if joining a global partnership for open governance will also strengthen our domestic initiatives, then we will seriously consider taking part in that,” he said.

Abad was invited by the Obama government to take part in a small group meeting with leading government executives and civil society leaders on January 21 to 22, to discuss the US-proposed International Open Government Initiative; as well as to exchange best practices and innovations in efforts to promote transparency, fight corruption, energize civic engagement and leverage new technologies in pursuit of open governance.

The reform advocate said policies towards good and open governance are at the top and center of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s 16-point Social Contract with the Filipino People, where he pledged to be the nation’s first and most determined fighter of corruption. He added that the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan, which is about to be finalized, will feature good governance and anti-corruption as part of the flagship agenda.

“One primary reason why our country has lagged behind our Asian counterparts is that national leadership had been susceptible to patronage, entrenching a culture of concealment, exclusivity and impunity throughout government. This is because official information had been sparse, and the space for people’s participation in governance had been very narrow,” he said.

“It would be impossible to instantly supplant this situation we inherited. But with the stern commitment of the country’s top leader, we believe we will be able to transform government to one that truly serves the people’s interests, and truly accountable to them,” he stressed.

The proposed International Open Government Initiative traces its origins from President Obama’s Open Government Initiative in the US, whereby the White House issued a directive to all executive departments and agencies of the US government to take urgent steps towards transparency, participation and collaboration; and to identify key milestones and create a mechanism to track progress.