Open Data PH in the OGP Asia Pacific Regional Conference in Bali

Date Originally Published: May 12, 2014
Date Republished: October 13, 2017

As one of the eight founding members of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), the Philippines maintains a strong commitment to upholding the organization's vision of making governments better. In line with this, Open Data Philippines recently took part in the OGP Asia Pacific Regional Conference held from May 6-7, 2014 in Bali, Indonesia.Organized with the overarching theme of "Unlocking Innovative Openness: Impetus to Greater Citizen Engagement", the conference aimed to tap new potentials and reinvigorate efforts to support a wider application of openness, good governance, and civic participation.

The two-day summit began with opening remarks from Mr. Rakesh Rajani, founder of Twaweza, a ten-year year initiative to enhance access to information, citizen agency, and public accountability in East Africa. He prefaced his speech by saying, In the Ramayana, what is good and what is evil is not ambiguous. But for many of us today, the challenges we face are less clear. The deeper challenge of our time is whether we live in societies that are more open or more closed; about the quality of the space for citizens in the regimes in which we live.

His words echo the convictions of the Open Data Task Force, whose representatives also gave presentations during the conference.From the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson (OPS), Usec. Abigail Valte spoke of Open Data and its principles, shared its journey from creation to launch to current initiatives. She also elaborated on our plans to institutionalize Open Data by integrating it to the proposed Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill, thereby bridging both the supply and demand side of access to information.

From the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Usec. Richard Moya related stories and insights on citizen empowerment in relation to policy-building. Other DBM representatives also presented on various OGP- and Open Data-related topics.Ivygail Ong described the Open Data Philippines experience, expounding on the enabling factors and obstacles that shaped our journey; Patrick Lim explained the founding principles of OGP to interested nations; while Gabriel Baleos shared specific advice on Open Data, showcasing the different dashboards to be found on as well as the process that went into the site design itself.

Many other representatives also talked about their own roles and efforts in their respective countries. By fostering such a cooperative atmosphere, the OGP Bali conference truly constituted a harmonious, international effort to liberate ideas and share experiences. It further established the participating governments not just as proponents of a freer, more open environment, but also as learning and listening governments geared toward finding the best solutions for their respective countries.