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FAiTH: A failed BS Aquino open data and open governance project, a lesson for Open Data Day!

Foreign Aid Transparency Hub (FAiTH)

On February 22, Open Data will be celebrated worldwide. “On this day, we should not neglect lessons from the failed Foreign Aid Transparency Hub (FAiTH) of the BS Aquino regime,” said Ms. Gladys Regaldo, Deputy National Coordinator of the Computer Professionals’ Union. More details after the jump.

According to the initiative’s website, “Open Data Day is a global community initiative to make and spread open data. People from all around the world gather together online or in person to make things with and around open data. Anyone is invited to get involved – from curious citizens to journalists, coders to scientists, designers to data wranglers.” Initiators of data.gov.ph are hosting a Philippine celebration tomorrow.

FAiTH is “an online portal of information on calamity aid and assistance, whether in cash or in kind, received by the Philippines from nations and multilateral organizations, as well as those coursed through our embassies abroad.” The site is accessible through, http://www.gov.ph/faith.

CPU’s review of the said open governance and open data initiative noted the following:

  1. Access to www.gov.ph/faith is intermittent. Frequent connection timeout hinders access to data. In the study, we experienced difficulty in browsing its full report, http://www.gov.ph/faith/full-report/. For open data initiatives to be useful, it should first and foremost be able to handle requests from users.
  2. Data is inconsistent. FAiTH offers three (3) possible data sources that should converge to the same figures. It has a downloadable csv file, a full report listing of donations, and details from posted details of donations. A simple total of these sources returned inconsistent figures. Which of these sources can be trusted?
  3. There are countries with double entries of donations affecting data quality and accuracy.
  4. The promise of tracking how these donations are disbursed and used are yet to be posted on the site.
  5. The site is almost static. There is no active campaign to promote interaction on the site which can call attention of agencies to improve response on relief and rehabilitation.
  6. The inconsistent FAiTH data sends all the arguments for open data to the dustbin. How can the participate in decision making when data available are inconsistent? How can innovators create services with it if the site uptime is unreliable? Worst, data is not formatted such that data mashups can be easily created.

Earlier this week, the Palace announced that it will open another website to monitor reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts.

“It appears that the BS Aquino regime has this obsession with websites. There are existing portals like data.gov.ph and gov.ph/faith where they can publish so-called reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts and clearly, the lack of websites is not the problem. They must do their job by addressing the conflicting information of FAiTH and address the absence of information on humanitarian aid spending. It seems that they are equating transparency and open governance to websites with infographics and downloadable raw data,” warns Ms. Regalado.

“Looking at their performance on 100th day of Yolanda incident, they still have to double efforts to actually have something to post on any site they will create.”

Source: Computer Professionals' Union

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