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Citizen Engagement, Open Government

Philippines promotes budget transparency with Hackathon

The Open Data Philippines Task Force, in partnership with various NGOs and private sector organisations, organised a hackathon called “#KabantayNgBayan” last month which saw the creation of innovative mobile apps that aims to strengthen and support the government’s transparency initiatives.

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89 developers formed teams of three or four and worked together over a 48 hour period to develop mobile applications using budget data released by the Department of Budget and Management.

The teams used the budget data to calculate where the taxpayer’s money goes in the national budget, create a platform for citizens to propose an alternative national budget, and develop a working feedback mechanism for the budget allotment releases of agencies. Furthermore, they were also given a chance to speak to experts to help them understand the datasets provided.

The biggest enemy we all face is not fear — that’s the famous saying —it’s doubt. It’s wondering what’s going on. Does anyone know? And if someone knows, why don’t I know? There is no problem that can’t be fixed in terms of getting the information out…. You can’t live on code alone, but your code can save lives. Your code, your apps, your thinking, your problem-solving can bring hope,” Communications Undersecretary Manuel L. Quezon III told the hackathon participants.

At the end of the event, a mobile application called “Budget Badger” took home the first prize. The winning app allows users to access information about the budget for different government projects nationwide.

The team, composed of Philip Cheang, Levi Tan Ong, Daniel Fordan, and Pepe Bawagan, won a business incubation package from IdeaSpace, four laptops from Microsoft, Open Data merchandise, Smart Devnet and Mozilla merchandise, and P12,000 ( US$271) cash, which will be donated to the Philippine Red Cross.

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