Can geo-tagging help combat corruption?

Rappler.com
Geo-tagging gives both local government units (LGU's) and citizens the capacity to monitor the progress of projects even in remote areas

MAXIMUM EFFICIENCY. A group of trained project personnel tries out the geotagging approach in a Maguindanao town. Photo submitted by DA-MRDP

MANILA, Philippines – Citizens can now upload location-specific photos or data to help prevent corruption in infrastructure projects all over the country, without risking one’s safety especially in isolated conflict areas. 

Under the Department of Agriculture’s Mindanao Rural Development Program (DA-MRDP) geo-tagging is now being used to give both local government units (LGUs) and citizens the capacity to monitor the progress of government projects. 

“The beauty of geo-tagging is that one does not have to be an engineer to learn it. Anyone can learn the ropes,” said MRDP Deputy Program Director Arnel De Mesa.  

The innovation utilizes global positioning system (GPS) technology to map public infrastructure projects. It then embeds this data on Google Earth. This makes the data accessible to LGUs, project bidders and other concerned groups. 

In the past, project implementation in isolated areas was not easily monitored due to logistical contraints. This led to corrupt ghost projects since the concerned agencies had difficulty monitoring remote projects. With geo-tagging however, the gap is being addressed as officials can now be held accountable for shortcomings in infrastructure, made visible to the average citizen.  

“The application of geotagging tool is particularly helpful in conflict-affected areas and remote sites because we are able to show visual progress of the project implementation without actually going on field for validation,” said De Mesa. 

Since the start of the project, DA-MRDP has geo-tagged 1,980 subprojects under the community fund for agricultural development (CFAD), 475 rural infrastructure subprojects and 30 sites covered by the natural resource management (NRM) component.

DA-MRDP has also prepared e-modules for other groups such as DSWD and DENR to adapt geo-tagging in their projects. They have also cited that LGUs in the country can easily adapt geo-tagging into their procceses, as it is very affordable in terms of hardware and accesibility. (READ: Social media is the new frontier of Disaster Risk Reduction)

International recognition 

Due to its effectivity and potential, DA-MRDP’s geo-tagging efforts garnered international recognition by the World Bank. (READ: PH wins award in London for anti-corruption project

The Project bested five other citations in the Science of Delivery Awardees in the global Procurement for Complex Situation Challenge. 

The World Bank, on their international website, cites the project as a “Web-based technology (that) promotes more efficient management of community-driven projects in remote and conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.”

WATCH: Applied Geotagging Technology DA-MRDP’s transparency tool. 

 

– Rappler.com

 For more information, kindly visit the Department of Agriculture, Philippine Rural Development Program website.