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18 January 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Citizens participation and open government play an important role in the efforts of President Benigno S. Aquino to lead the Philippines towards sustained growth and competitiveness.

This was the gist of the remarks of Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. during a panel discussion with White House Presidential Innovation Fellows organized by the Institute of Education and held at the Philippine Embassy early this month.

“In every decision he makes, President Aquino encourages participatory governance and his integrity and leadership have inspired our people to commit to his social agenda,” Ambassador Cuisia said.

Among the examples of the government’s open government initiatives he cited were  performance-informed budgeting; stakeholder engagement in the budget planning process; and the online posting of Budget ng Bayan (People’s Budget).

Ambassador Cuisia also talked about the hackathon held in November where information technology developers and designers competed to create innovative mobile or web-based applications that would help the public track government spending.

The Ambassador also cited the Bright Spot Award received by the Commission on Audit’s Citizens Participatory Audit at the Open Government Partnership Summit held in London last year.

In view of the critical use of technology that will ensure the success of open government initiatives, Ambassador Cuisia also underscored the large pool of Filipino developer talent both in the Philippines and the in United States.

The White House Presidential Innovation Fellows program is a six to 13 month program that joins top innovators from the private sector, non-profit and the academia together with top innovators from government to develop solutions on the most pressing challenges faced by the US government. The solutions developed help save lives, save taxpayer money and fuel job creation.

The fellows were led in the discussion by John Paul Farmer, former Senior Advisor at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy who directed the Presidential Innovation Fellows Program.

In his opening remarks, Farmer cited a McKinsey study which said that open data can help unlock $3 trillion to $5 trillion in economic value annually in education, transportation, consumer products, oil and gas, electricity, health care and consumer finance. The three fellows who participated were Adam Dole, Jacqueline Kazil and Scott Wu. ###