Transparency, as defined, is the exercise of openness in government processes, actions, and decisions through regular disclosure of pertinent information to the public, ensuring citizen’s access to information on government affairs, and effectively communicating to the public.
In its broadest sense, empowerment is the expansion of freedom of choice and action. It means increasing one’s authority and control over the resources and decisions that affect one’s life. As people exercise real choice, they gain increased control over their lives.
Access to information is a requisite for good governance. It is mandated by law by virtue of Article 3, Section 7 of the Philippine Constitution. Further, various policies have been issued that mandates LGUs to make local plans, reports, and budgets publicly accessible. These include provisions from the Local Government Code and the Government Procurement Reform Act. Information disclosure is not an end in itself, but elements of transparency should be considered, such as accessibility, timeliness, and quality of disclosed information.
Good governance entails opening as many areas of governance as possible to the participation of stakeholders, particularly civil society groups, grassroots organizations, business, academe, development partners, among others. Crucial areas for participation are the planning and budgeting process and monitoring government performance.