Re-imagining government data in the Philippines

Home page of

My experience in the Philippines

  • Exclusively CSV-based: All the data files I worked with were in CSVs. Big files could not be handled by Excel, while ingesting these into Python required extra steps not readily available to everyone. Joining data from various files was not as straightforward as it could be.
  • Slow to generate files: After submitting the requests on the EBEIS UI, it took a while for the CSV files to be generated (it’s been a while since I used it but, if I remember correctly, it could take more than an hour to generate CSV files with more data). I believe there was a separate team that had access to the underlying EBEIS database in some other way (i.e., not via the UI) and I would reach out to them if I got stuck.
  • All data were gated: Individuals that were not employees of the Department of Education did not have access to the EBEIS data (which required a government email). This is perfectly fine for cases dealing with Personal Identifiable Information (PII) data, but it makes it difficult to get high-level data, say, on enrollment numbers of schools.

The National Government Portal

A. Services

List of services under “Business and Trade”

B. Information

  • a list of government projects: this similar to the services pages where projects are in lists and the items lead to external pages) filterable by agency
  • a directory of departments and agencies: this includes the department / agency names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses if available (should the availability of an email address for each department / agency. be a metric to monitor?). This is filterable by government branch and by region / city / municipality
  • other info: i.e., an overview of the Philippines, hotlines, public holidays, and interoperability standards (referring to the framework the government uses to facilitate e-Government goals). In the home page, there are also links to information / news agencies.

C. Data

My wish list

Wish #1: Lay out data that are available / will be available

Wish #2: Include easily readable metadata

Birth Statistics data
Sample recommended layout

Wish #3: Provide queryable data

Wish #4: Provide an easy way for users to give feedback

  • discussion forum: The portal could included a discussion forum for data concerns (potentially concerns relating to information and services as well). This has to be moderated and the feedback collated before it can be used, however. A cleaner way to get feedback is described below.
  • system for filing data support tickets: The portal currently has a way to provide general feedback, but having a specific system for filing support tickets for data concerns would help streamline this process. In addition, the filed tickets should be surfaced in a page in the portal so users can see what concerns have been raised already; having a way to vote on tickets that require more attention would be even more helpful.




Sr Data Scientist at Uber

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Likas Umali

Likas Umali

Sr Data Scientist at Uber

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