Step Up Managing Consultant, Michael Canares, was one of the personalities outside of government recognized in the recent 2019 Annual FOI Awards. His contributions to the Philippine government’s thrust of making government information accessible to the public was a major reason for the award.
Canares has been at the forefront in the advocacy for more transparent and accountable governments in the last five years, starting off with Step Up’s very first research project, “Opening the Gates: Will Open Data Make Governments in the Philippines More Transparent” a project funded by Canada’s International Development Research Center. The project was implemented in Bohol, Bulacan, and South Cotabato. It was followed by “Enhancing Citizen Engagement with Open Government Data” project implemented in the provinces of Negros Oriental and Bohol.
Since then, Canares has worked in several transparency and accountability projects in the Philippines, including in the areas of open government, open contracting, and more recently, freedom of Information. Canares leads the Increasing People’s Access to Public Contracting Information Through the FOI Program funded by HIVOS and implemented in partnership with the Freedom of Information – Project Management Office of the Philippine government.