The Open LGU Research Project was formally launched in Bohol on July 23, 2013 at MetroCentre Hotel and Convention Center in Tagbilaran City. The activity was attended by a vibrant mix of representatives from the civil society organizations, business sector, academe, government, and church groups. Invited speakers from the government, namely, Atty. John Titus J. Vistal, CPA of the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) and Ms. Mary Ann Aparece-Verga of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) – Bohol presented the situation of open data in the province, while Dr. Emmanuel C. Lallana, Chief Executive of IdeaCorp and mentor for the project explained how open data is a tool for citizen participation which brings us to the goal for democracy and citizen empowerment.
The project is a research study entitled “Opening the Gates: Will Open Data Initiatives make Local Governments in the Philippines More Transparent” that will look at how online sharing of governance information is making an impact on local government systems and on how data and information are being accessed and used by civil society and intermediary groups. The funding for this work has been provided through the World Wide Web Foundation ‘Exploring the Emerging Impacts of Open Data in Developing Countries‘ research project, supported by grant from Canada’s International Development Research Centre. The research will be conducted in three provincial sites, as, Bohol for Visayas, Bulacan for Luzon and South Cotabato for Mindanao – these provinces being among those awarded with DILG’s Best Governed Province.
This research study is being done by Step Up Consulting Services, a local social enterprise serving local and international clients, managed by Mr. Michael P. Cañares who is leading the research team. During the launch, Mr. Canares gave a lightning talk on the project. Other experts composing the team are Ms. Mariejoe F. Narca, Ms. Jaremilleta M. Arawiran and Mr. Joseph de Guia. The audience’s interest and appreciation for the project, during the launch, gives the research team the right boost and momentum as it takes further steps for project implementation. Mr. Canares noted in jest that at this stage of the study the team is already getting recommendations even before the findings are presented.