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DA STRENGTHENS TRANSPARENCY THROUGH GEOTAGGING OF PROJECTS

The Department of Agriculture (DA) will now use Applied Geotagging (AGT) in all projects to strengthen transparency and good governance, following the standards developed and utilized by the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP)—another DA-implemented foreign project.

In a memorandum, released on July 28, 2015, Secretary Proceso J. Alcala enjoined all DA officials and project implementers to use the AGT in carrying out every DA program and project.

Alcala said that AGT is a vital tool in the validation and monitoring of proposed and implemented projects of the government. He stressed that it also an effective mechanism to promote transparency within the government.

“The utilization of the tool is a critical input in the development of the Field Operations Service’s Management Information System that manages data and provides efficient, reliable and real-time information for all programs and projects under the DA,” he continued.

To further secure the use of AGT and prevent possible modification or alteration of geotagged photos, the PRDP has developed a unified AGT Android Mobile Application, which will also be used by all DA programs and projects.

The revolutionary system, which bagged the top place on the Science of Delivery Awardees in the Global Procurement for Complex Situation Challenge last year, has been recognized by the World Bank recently as a critical tool in promoting transparency of government-implemented projects.

AGT was first developed and applied by DA’s Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) in 2011, and has helped increase transparency in project implementation, especially in remote and conflict-stricken areas in the region. As such, MRDP has been a success.

Currently, some DA programs have started using the tool such as the Irrigated Rice Production Enhancement Project (IRPEP), Rice Program, and Farm-to-Market Road Development Program (FMRDP).

A team from the PRDP has also trained other national agencies that are keen on applying the tool in implementing their own projects. These include the Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Public Works and Highways, and National Irrigation Administration, among others.

Last year, the PRDP also trained members of various civil society organizations in hope of involving them in monitoring sub-projects implemented in their locality.

Geotagging is an ICT application that associates digital resource such as photos and videos with geographic and location information with high degree precision.

It is a Google Earth-based tool, facilitating easy and accurate locations of infrastructure, livelihood and agri-fishery facilities on a map enabling virtual monitoring and supervision of sub-project implementation. (Catherine Nanta, DA-PRDP)

Posted By: Lynne Pingoy

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