Pioneering Open Data Standards in the Philippines

Philippines, 3 November 2021 - Corruption risks can be found at every stage in the procurement process, from tender to delivery. Consistently with previous epidemics, Covid-19 has heightened procurement corruption risks, including across Southeast Asia. As well as being correlated with higher Covid fatality rates, corruption can decimate the public funds needed for wider development agendas and economic recovery, while allowing multiple forms of crime to flourish.

A UNODC compendium of good practices on combatting corruption in the response to Covid-19 is available here

To ensure increased accountability during Covid-19 and beyond, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is providing ongoing support to establish national anti-corruption procurement platforms in nine countries, including the Philippines, with the support of the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs under the COVID-19 Anti-Corruption Response and Recovery Project. These platforms will act as coordinating hubs to bring together anti-corruption authorities, oversight institutions, and procurement bodies to strengthen public procurement transparency and whistle-blower protection and better address national anti-corruption challenges related to crisis recovery.

In the Philippines, UNODC is working with the Government Procurement Policy Board’s Technical Support Office (GPPB-TSO) to strengthen legal, institutional, operative, and strategic procurement frameworks. The engagement aims to better support a sustainable recovery from the Covid-19 crisis and to help prevent and mitigate corruption risks in future national emergencies, by enhancing public procurement transparency. As part of this initiative, GPPB-TSO launched a project to digitize the submission and publication of procurement reports in the Philippines through a web application.

GPPB-TSO’s digitization project aims to address the public demand for transparency in how the Philippines’ approved budget is being utilized by government agencies and local government units. The web application will not only publish the procurement reports and analytics in real-time and open data format but will also generate a visual representation of the data summary. This will allow various stakeholders — such as procuring entities, law enforcement agencies, and civil society — to use digital tools and data analysis to better prevent, detect, and mitigate corruption risks in public procurement.

To coordinate technical support, refine the project work plan, and revise the procurement reporting forms, UNODC and the GPPB co-organized a Workshop on Application of Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) in Components 1 & 2 of GPPB-TSO Automation of Procurement Reports Project, from 2 to 3 November 2021, with additional support from the Open Contracting Partnership (OCP).

At the two-day event, UNODC and the OCP provided GPPB-TSO with technical advice on the level of detail that needs to be disclosed in the procurement reports to ensure compliance with the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS), which defines a common data model at all stages of the contracting process, increases contracting transparency and enables a wide range of users to deeply analyze the procurement data. In addition, UNODC and OCP provided GPPB-TSO with technical guidance in developing the project work plan, and the terms of reference for the development of the web application and data analysis software — outputs that are vital for GPPB-TSO to successfully pioneer the digitization project.

The Open Contracting Partnership’s Quickstart Guide, sharing 15 practical strategies for open, fairer, and better public procurement, is available here

This event was part of activities funded by the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs of the United States Department of State. Footage (where available) and written summaries of UNODC webinars are publicly available via our website.

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