Philippines’ Grassroots Budgeting program wins award in New York

MANILA, Sept. 26 — Malacañang announced that the Philippines’ Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (GPB) program has won third place in the 2014 Open Government Awards presented during the Open Government Partnership (OGP) high-level event in New York on Wednesday.

Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman accepted the award, Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte told reporters during Thursday’s press briefing at the Palace.

The top two places went to Denmark and Montenegro, respectively.

“In her acceptance speech, Secretary Dinky Soliman expressed our government’s appreciation to the OGP for recognizing the GPB program,” Valte said. “The award affirms the efforts of those working in government, both national and local, as well as those in the many civil society organizations and communities that invested time and resources to establishing this program.”

The OGP’s 1st Open Government Awards recognized innovative programs that expand and deepen citizen engagement.

“The GPB program is revolutionary because it offers an alternative to the usual top-down approach to budgeting by allowing communities and local government units to identify and advocate for their own projects, as deemed beneficial to their community, and which will be funded by the national government,” she said.

She noted that this is the second year in a row that the country has won an award.

Last year, the Citizen Participatory Audit—a joint Commission on Audit-civil society project that audits government performance—won the Bright Spots Award at the OGP Summit held in London, she said.

The OGP is a movement comprised of 64 governments, and international and national civil society organizations with the common objective of deepening the practice of open government across its member countries.

All member countries are required to commit to make their respective governments more transparent, participatory, and accountable.

“The Philippines is a founding member of the OGP and currently sits on its Steering Committee. We have crafted our second OGP Action Plan, which contains nine commitments, including the GPB program, the passage of the Freedom of Information Act, and Open Data Philippines,” Valte said. (PCOO/PND (ag)