On 21 – 23 January 2014, SEATTI and MAVC co-organised an event with EngageMedia called, ‘Technology & Open Government, A Collaborative Learning‘ at the Linden Suites in Ortigas in Metro Manila. This event was attended by representatives from transparency groups, media groups, technology organisations and companies and government agencies from the Philippines.
The main objective of the event was to spark collaborations among the represented groups, organisations, companies and agencies in order to strategically use technology to support open government in the Philippines, as well as to build an understanding among participants in the use of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) in engaging citizens in transparency and accountability initiatives.
This was the 2nd event of this kind organised by SEATTI. The first one was held in Jakarta, Indonesia in July 2013. It was attended by budget transparency groups and technology organisations from Indonesia and the Philippines.
The facilitation team was comprised of 3 members of the EngageMedia staff, Indu Nepal, Dhyta Caturani, and Cheekay Cinco as well as Dondon Parafin from the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP). Dondon was in the first event held in Jakarta last year. EngageMedia also assisted in facilitating that event.
For facilitation, we employed a modified Open Space methodology. The specific agenda for the event was ‘crowd-sourced’ among the participants on the first day. The bulk of the event was spent on interactive sessions, small group discussions and technical skill sharing sessions with time scheduled for report-back and plenary feedback.
There are a number of on-going initiatives from transparency and media groups as well as government agencies that strategically use new ICTs to aggregate, curate and present data around issues. Some examples are:
- Money Politics. Developed and maintained by the Philippine Centre for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), this website collates, repackages and makes more accessible data and information around 4 topic areas: Public Profiles, Campaign Finance, Public Funds, and Elections and Governance. PCIJ has impressively scrubbed through both analog and digital numerical data available to create a resource not just for journalists but for citizens who want to monitor the financial accountability of the Philippine government and its officials.
- Data.gov.ph was launched the week before the event. This is the main Philippine government portal for open data. Through this website developed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), data will be made available from the different government agencies in the Philippines.
- Centre for Media Freedom and Responsibility’s Interactive Map on the Killing of Filipino Journalists is a monitoring tool on violence against journalists in the country.
- OFW-SOS by the Centre for Migrant Advocacy (CMA) uses mobile and web technology to provide emergency assistance to Filipino migrant workers.
The overall feedback from the event participants was positive. For most of them, this was the first unconference event they have attended. This type of workshop methodology is fairly new in the Philippines. While there was some trepidation from some of the participants, everyone was quite excited about experiencing a new way of doing events.
- A Facebook group has been created and is being maintained by the participants to continue discussion and sharing of ideas among the participants.
- Open data events, hackathons, kapihan (coffee talks)
- Policy fora to be co-organised by CMFR and DBM around issues relating to open government, freedom of information and open data
- A collaboration between CMA and the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) to use video conferencing to organise migrant Filipino workers
- The development of a concrete action plan to use social media to engage citizens was proposed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)