NEW YORK - President Benigno S. Aquino III keynoted the Open Governance forum Tuesday morning on the second day of his official visit to the United States.
President Aquino is the only head of state invited to address this forum held at Google's New York office, which tackles the role of openness in improving responsiveness, fostering accountability, creating efficiency and fighting corruption.
In his speech, Mr Aquino said, "Anyone with access to an internet connection can reach millions of people and dispense pearls of wisdom or, perversely, misinform and mislead in pursuit of a selfish agenda. And so government must therefore open itself to those pearls of wisdom, wherever they may originate."
He also pointed out that "public service lies in recognizing that engaging his fellow citizens in dialogue positively reinforces a culture of openness."
As an example, Mr Aquino told his New York audience that the Philippine government has started empowering its citizenry by reporting on cases of corruption in a website, known as Pera ng Bayan, which has led to 127 cases filed since the site was launched in November 2010.
He also talked about the Official Gazette going online as the government portal which is working to make over a century’s worth of legislation and executive issuances freely available to the public.
The Philippines' budget department, he said, has put data on budgetary releases online, while bids for government contracts are posted online for all to see.
In essence, President Aquino delivered the point that governments that do things right should have no problem keeping its citizens informed and engaged.
Click here for speech: The Power of Open: A Global Discussion
After his speaking engagement, President Aquino will meet with the top executives of IBM.
He will also attend the formal launching of the Open Governance Partnership (OGP) co-chaired by US President Barack Obama and Brazil President Dilma Rousseff.
The Philippines is one of only two countries from Asia invited to become a member of the Steering Committee of the OGP.
Other members of the Committee are the United States, Brazil, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway and South Africa.
The President is also scheduled to meet with the Foreign Minister of Norway.
He will be speaking about his administration’s domestic and foreign policy thrusts before the Asia Society.
The Asia Society is an organization founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller III to promote greater knowledge of Asia in the US.