Promoting Open Data for Local Governance

The Center for Local & Regional Governance (CLRG) is currently contributing to the development of a highly-functional and transformative Open Data (OD) Ecosystem in the Philippines with its action- research entitled     “Harnessing  Open Data to Promote Transparency and Accountability in the Philippines at the Local Level”.   Led by Dir. Erwin Alampay and Ms. Pauline Bautista,   CLRG is studying the open data needs of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) engaged in Citizens’ Participatory Audit (CPA), Bottom Up Budgeting BUB), Social Audit and Participatory Budgeting.  The objective is to map the convergence of CSO needs with the supply of information demanded from Local Government Units (LGUs)  and National Government Agencies (NGAs) by the Philippine Government.   The project intends to illustrate the gaps in the demand and derive a working model for sustainably closing these gaps before developing a pilot of the model.

The team surveyed issues on open data at the local level with an initial consultative meeting with the Mayor of Quezon City, Herbert Bautista. They began documenting open data network discussions in September, the first of which was the post-APEC Open Data Summit convened by the Department of Budget and Management with the Global Initiative for Transparency. The inter-sectoral discourse on open data expanded to include regional perspectives at the Open Data Lab Jakarta Workshops in October, which also provided a platform for the strategic  interphasing of initiatives, particularly with DLSU’s competency-based open data capacity building research.

Since then, the team has documented the first of a lecture series on Open Data convened by the International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance and the Development Academy of the Philippines in November, and in December, a Workshop on Data Journalism convened by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism with the World Bank, and the Philippine Data Summit convened by the Ombudsman and the United Nations Development Program.

In the works are CSO caselets based on primary data from interviews with key informants and secondary data sourced from the web. These will serve as the investigative discussion points for surveying NGA perceptions on innovations and issues in the use, supply and demand of open fiscal data.  The action research culminates with capacity-building research-workshops presenting the open data systems model in a focal LGU sometime in the first quarter of 2016.

The CLRG research initiative is supported by the World Wide Web Foundation’s Open Data Lab Jakarta as part of the Open Data for Development (OD4D) network and with financial support from IDRC.

-Pauline S. Bautista