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12/07/2012: Presidential Spokesperson Attends World Bank Conference in Bid to Advance Transparency and Accountability in Governance

12 July 2012, Washington DC. Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Edwin Lacierda visited Washington, DC on July 10 to 12, 2012 to attend the International Open Government Data Conference organized by the World Bank. The Secretary’s participation in the conference is part of the Philippine Government’s efforts to establish procedures that will advance transparency and accountability in governance.

The Philippines is a member of the 8-nation steering committee of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), an international partnership among similarly-inclined governments who have demonstrated good practices and strong commitment to transparency, accountability and citizen participation in governance.

Secretary Lacierda commended the World Bank for organizing the forum. He said, “We have taken initial steps towards making Government data accessible to our public. For instance, our budget proposal for 2013 is posted on the government website and so our citizens can see where the President’s priorities lie.” The Secretary believes, however, that the Philippines should take this opportunity to learn how other countries established their open data systems and how such data may be made more meaningful to different users.

The Secretary met with the Secretary of Corruption Prevention and Strategic Information of Brazil, Mario Spinelli, who was one of the speakers at the Conference. Brazil is currently the co-chair of the OGP.

The Secretary was also invited to the Executive Forum at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House hosted by US Chief Information Officer Steven Van Roekel and US Chief Technology Officer Todd Park. In this forum, the invited senior government officials exchanged views on the work they are doing in creating open government.

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Edwin Lacierda, right, listens to discussions on Open Government during a forum held at the White House.  Also shown in the photo are Mr. Steven Van Roekel (2nd from right), U.S. Chief Information Officer, and Mr. Todd Park (3rd from right), U.S. Chief Technology Officer.

During his visit, Secretary Lacierda also met with World Bank Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific Pamela Cox who is a strong supporter of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program. CCT directly extends assistance to the poorest families on the condition that they send their children to school and that they visit their health centers. By the end of this year, 3.1 million families would have benefitted from CCT.

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Edwin Lacierda, right, poses with World Bank Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific Pamela Cox, during their meeting at the sidelines of the International Open Government Data Conference.

“President Aquino is strongly committed to building an open, transparent and accountable government,” Secretary Lacierda said during the meeting. He confirmed that the Philippine Government has already created a task force to help promote the OGP/Open Data principles and citizenship participation in governance.  He also reiterated the Philippine Government’s appreciation for the World Bank’s continued support, from capacity building programs under the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) to the Catastrophe Draw Down Option (CAT-DDO) mechanism for disaster-affected areas in the country.

With the successful launch of the US-Philippines Society during the official working visit of President Aquino last June 7, the Secretary also met with Executive Director Hank Hendrickson to discuss the Society’s programming priorities for the rest of the year, which include the performance of the Bayanihan Dance Troupe in the U.S. and an academic symposium on the Philippines’ Outlook, in partnership with Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced and International Studies (SAIS).

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Edwin Lacierda, right, meets with US-Philippines Society Executive Director Hank Hendrickson to discuss projects being planned this year by the newly-formed organization.

On July 11, a dialogue between Secretary Lacierda and representatives of the local Filipino American media was held at the Philippine Embassy to discuss developments taking place in the country and the Aquino administration’s priority programs.  The Secretary is scheduled to pass by San Francisco on his way back to Manila, where he will meet with members of the Filipino American community.  (END)