Out of curiosity, Pinoy Index visited the official websites of each of the 80 Philippine provinces and picked the best (and worst) among them.
The websites were mainly judged by its design, features, and level of transparency. It should be noted that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) requires local government units to “open their books” (e.g. post annual budget reports and announce Invitations to Bid) on their websites.
Quick Stats (as of March 10, 2013)
- Online and functioning: 62
- Uses the gov.ph domain: 55
- Top three preferred platforms: Joomla! (26), WordPress (12), from scratch/PHP (9)
- With Facebook Pages: 21
- With Twitter accounts: 12
- Online but not loading properly: 3 (Cagayan, Bulacan and Lanao del Sur)
- No official websites yet: 14 (Abra, Ifugao, Mountain Province, Batanes, Nueva Ecija, Albay, Masbate, Biliran, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Samar, Southern Leyte, Zamboanga del Sur and Tawi-Tawi)
- One province has an official gov.ph URL, but does not display the intended/expected content. (See #1 worst website below.)
[Above the fold means the first thing you see on screen after the website loads. In short, at first glance.]
[Figures for Facebook likes and Twitter followers are retrieved before midnight of March 10, 2013.]
Best Provincial Government Websites
1. Negros Occidental (http://www.negros-occ.gov.ph)
Platform: WordPress / Likes on Facebook page: 454
Pros: Straightforward website navigation. Captivating pictures featured on the front page slideshow. Both left and right sidebars functional and useful, with distinct and nifty graphics for each link/section. Nearly all financial statements and reports updated and organized. Government projects and platforms very detailed. Pictures of local officials not all around the website.
Cons: “Invitation to Bid” list is not updated and has no separate section. (It’s currently together with other procurement-related items in “Financial Statements and Reports” section.)
2. Pangasinan (http://www.pangasinan.gov.ph)
Platform: WordPress / Likes on Facebook page: 11,368 / Twitter followers: 883
Pros: Clean, sleek and professionally-made. More pictures of people and places than government officials, especially above the fold. Has Facebook, Twitter and YouTube connections for a complete online Pangasinan experience.
Cons: Seal of Good Housekeeping and links to local gov’t reports/transactions not visible on home page. It’s under The Province > Seal of Good Housekeeping. Listing of documents are not user-friendly. No downloadable government forms, too.
3. South Cotabato (http://www.southcotabato.gov.ph)
Platform: WordPress / Likes on Facebook page: 15,057 / Twitter followers: 70
Pros: Cool slider feature. Simple yet cool “Contact Us” drop-down menu. Website doubles as a tourism page. “Discover South Cotabato” section at bottom of home page “modularized” the whole website with cool icons. Local gov’t reports/forms available after clicking “Residents” button. Very minimal pictures of incumbent gov’t officials.
Cons: Tourism sections are better than the government-related pages, which are just filled with plain texts. Some parts are still incomplete, like the pages under the “Business” menu. “Items to Bid” are hard to find; user has to go to Provincial Offices > Provincial Governor’s Office > Bids and Awards.
4. Sarangani (http://www.sarangani.gov.ph)
Platform: PHP / Twitter followers: 86
Pros: A simple, small-scale website that packs a lot of punch. (Boxing pun intended.) Home page separated into three: a picture slideshow at the top, provincial news feeds in the middle, and more tourism-related links and social media sections at the bottom. “7 Towns” page nicely done; each town also gets a nice write-up.
Cons:Website functions more like a tourism page, with scenic pictures and fun activities featured above the fold. Links to e-Bids and other government reports found at the bottom of the page. e-Bids app on “E-Bids” page not working as of last visit. Rep. Manny Pacquiao gets top billing, instead of Gov. Miguel Dominguez, in “Governance” page.
5. Bataan (http://www.bataan.gov.ph)
Platform: Joomla! / Likes on Facebook page: 559 / Twitter followers: 76
Pros: It’s a blog-type website, but its content is frequently updated with matching photos. Neat graphics on right sidebar leading to important links and sections. Invitation to Bid items are listed on the home page. Only website (so far) to feature a list of all candidates running for local posts in the 2013 elections.
Cons: Too many pictures of incumbent government officials. Main website admin is also a Garcia?
6. Ilocos Norte (http://www.ilocosnorte.gov.ph)
Platform: WordPress / Likes on Facebook page: 6,692 / Twitter followers: 408
Pros: “Quick Links” icons on sidebar are easy to understand and are helpful. Financial reports up-to-date. Floating window at the rightmost part of the page is a nice feature. Like Bataan’s website, it’s a blog-type one; it’s also frequently updated. And it has a Nokia mobile phone app!
Cons: *That* header text could be made better. “Invitation to Bid” items cannot be found.
7. Bohol (http://www.bohol.gov.ph/)
Pros: Navigation also straightforward, with easy-to-find link to a separate (seldom-updated) website for the Bids and Awards Committee (under Transparency menu). Financial statements and reports under Transparency > DILG Full Disclosure nicely organized. Platform of government posted on homepage.
Cons: Only one featured news on homepage. Section for graphics to essential links looks disorganized, and are not easy on the eyes. No links to details of each platform of government.
8. Aurora (http://www.aurora.gov.ph)
Platform: WordPress / Likes on Facebook page: 6, 985 / Twitter followers: 24
Pros: Easy on the eyes. Quick links to important sections on right sidebar. Financial statements and reports up-to-date (although incomplete). Aurora Geo-hazard Map posted on front page.
Cons: Last update to the news section was on July 2012. Same goes to the “Bids and Awards Committee” page.
9. Davao Oriental (http://news.davaooriental.com.ph)
Platform: WordPress / Likes on Facebook page: 411 / Twitter followers: 5
Pros: All news articles have accompanying pictures. Gov. Corazon Malanyaon is on almost all the pictures, but she’s never alone; somehow, other people are included and involved. Pertinent financial documents in “Transparency” tab. Numerous industries offered by the province also featured.
Cons: No section for other incumbent government officials. (I assume that could be seen in the “Government” tab, but it’s empty.) No “Invitation to Bid” list as well.
10. Sultan Kudarat (http://www.sultankudaratprovince.gov.ph)
Pros: Large, awesome page header. Main section in home page is nice, with tabs for each section/sector. Governance section is complete with financial statements and reports.
Cons: Still incomplete and presumably unfinished. “Items to Bid” list is mixed with all other financial statements.
Other Provincial Gov’t Websites
Worst Provincial Government Websites
1. Batangas (http://www.batangas.gov.ph)
Why? Check it out for yourselves. Welcome to Batangas, a province “for [the star for] all seasons”!
2. Dinagat Islands (http://www.dinagatislands.gov.ph)
Why? It’s made in JSP: Just a Splash Page! And guess who and what gets to be on that splash page? See for yourselves.
3. Ilocos Sur (http://www.ilocossur.gov.ph)
Why? The huge faces of Gov. Chavit Singson and Vice Gov. in the background is cringe-worthy! *cringe*
4. Davao del Sur (http://www.davaodelsur.gov.ph)
Why? It’s better to have none at all than have a very incomplete website. Case in point: the first photo in the slider is a stock photo!