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Philippines Results Report 2019-2022

The Philippines’ fifth action plan improved access to civil society–government town hall meetings and to local government information. Its design process widened public participation in OGP, but this momentum was not sustained during implementation.

Early Results:

Five of the action plan’s eleven commitments achieved early results, producing fewer open government results than the last plan. Commitment 6 made major progress on freedom of information (FOI), as 61 local governments passed relevant ordinances during the implementation period. Commitment 1A also achieved early results, widening access to civil society–government town hall meetings (Dagyaw) and institutionalizing a capacity-building program for civil society organizations (CSOs) in local special bodies of local government units. Other commitments made marginal improvements to public information on extractives, Tripartite Industrial Peace Council diversity, and indigenous people’s representation in local decision-making bodies (Commitments 5, 7, and 9).


Three of the action plan’s ten commitments were substantially implemented (Commitments 1A, 5, and 10), which was a lower implementation rate than the previous plan (in which 9 of 13 commitments were substantially or completely implemented). This progress was mainly due to the commitments being situated as critical work programs and deliverables in their respective lead agencies. These commitments were also facilitated by regular interfacing with the Steering Committee, as well as monitoring. For the other commitments, limited implementation was largely the result of disruptions related to COVID-19 and the May 2022 national elections. The action plan’s noteworthy commitments also encountered implementation hurdles: Commitment 4’s Project DIME was terminated by its implementing agency; Commitment 6’s national FOI bill remained stalled by the legislature; and local government units were slow to agree to Commitment 8’s participatory research on nutritional and reproductive health.

Participation and Co-Creation:

Broad participation in the design phase of the action plan decreased during implementation. The Philippine OGP Steering Committee—composed of a government steering committee and a nongovernment steering committee—is the multistakeholder forum that oversaw this process. Stakeholders noted that the combination of the committees’ independence and collaboration was a major strength of the process’ governance. For the first time, the Philippines adopted a bottom-up approach to co-creation, developing the action plan commitments from a Citizen’s Agenda. Of the eleven priorities in the Citizen’s Agenda,[1] six became bases for commitments in the action plan. The consultations achieved wider reach than the previous action plan by utilizing Dagyaw town hall meetings (which were subsequently expanded in Commitment 1A), with grants provided to the Caucus of Development NGO Networks by multilateral development agencies. New government participants in OGP took up commitments: the Department of Education, the Department of Labor and Employment, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. During implementation, the Steering Committee piloted a complementary government-CSO monitoring process with quarterly status reports from responsible agencies and monitoring reports on select commitments from CSO groups (CSO monitoring was discontinued after 2020). However, apart from those directly involved in commitment activities, wider CSO and public engagement decreased over the course of implementation. With no strategic follow-up engagements, especially with local governments and local CSO networks, the momentum of public participation from the design phase stalled. Shrinking civic space[2] also limited CSO-government collaboration, as reported by a number of CSO commitment leads.

Implementation in Context:

The implementation period was initially planned for 2019–2021 and was extended to August 2022 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic reduced political and agency focus on some of the action plan’s initiatives and was a major obstacle to in-person activities. For initiatives like the civil society–government town hall meetings (Commitment 1A), the shift to online access increased participation, especially from the regions. However, this also limited participation to those with better connectivity and technical capability. IRM research found positive collaboration between civil society and government within the open government process against the backdrop of shrinking civic space in the Philippines. At present, CIVICUS defines the Philippines’ civic space as repressed,[3] given increasing incidents of red-tagging[4] and limitations to civil society’s operational space. The 2022 national and local elections also halted a number of activities, particularly for commitments involving local governments, with officials engaged in campaigns and post-election leadership transitions. Moving forward, the impact of local governments’ commitments will be magnified by implementation of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling of the Supreme Court, which will further devolve the national budget and public service delivery.

[1] The themes involved in the Citizens’ Agenda were: CSO and active citizen engagement, disaster risk reduction and management and climate change adaptation (DRRM-CCA), access to reliable government information, natural resource governance, solid waste management, public finance and resource allocation, agri-ecotourism through organic agriculture and fishery, the regulation and institutionalization of Talakayan in local government units, citizen participation in the Bangsamoro government, institutionalization of social dialogue in the public sector, and promoting participatory government in the Marawi rehabilitation efforts.

[2] “Philippines,” CIVICUS, last modified November 15, 2022,

[3] “Philippines,” CIVICUS.

[4] Red-tagging refers to the act of labelling and accusing individuals and organizations of being left-leaning, subversives, communists, or terrorists by government stakeholders, particularly law enforcement agencies and the military, as a strategy against those perceived to be ‘threats’ or ‘enemies of the State.’


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