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Gov’t releases Open Government Data guidelines in 2015 GAA

MANILA, Philippines – The Aquino administration has released the guidelines for the provision of Open Government Data in the 2015 General Appropriations Act (GAA), reaffirming its commitment in making government data available to the public, the Department of Budget and Management said on Tuesday.
The move is being undertaken to strengthen the drive in digitizing the bureaucracy’s transactions even as the administration reiterated the need to further digitize payments via electronic transactions in government systems.
With regard to government data, the Open Data Philippines Task Force has already issued Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2015-01, which serves as the guidelines to implement the Open Government Data General Provision in the 2015 GAA.
The membership of the task force comprises the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson (OPS), and the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO).
“Consistent with the administration’s open data policy, we issued the JMC to serve as a guide for agencies on how to implement the government’s open data program. This is also in keeping with our commitment to the Open Government Partnership (OGP), as well as the mission of the Open Data Philippines (ODP),” Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said.
The current JMC provides that government data shall be made publicly available and accessible to the extent permitted by applicable laws and subject to individual privacy, confidentiality, national security, or other legally-mandated restrictions.
The release of the JMC was also done in conjunction with the country’s recent hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Open Data Workshop on Fiscal Management through Transparency and Reforms last June 9-10 in Bagac, Bataan. One of the workshop’s agenda was on how to deliver good and open governance through Open Data.
Likewise, the task force sent a delegation to Ottawa last May to participate in a series of meetings on the International Open Data Charter—a charter of open data best practices—to give inputs in drafting the said charter.
This charter will be eventually launched through the latter part of 2015, with key events planned in September at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City and in October at the OGP Annual Summit in Mexico.
“The importance of using digital payments in government will lower the risk of fund misuse, and a good example can be seen in local governments’ use of an ATM payroll system. These technological reforms, in turn, will bolster transparency and accountability in government, as well as nurturing an environment of public empowerment,” Sec. Abad said.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.