Home » Breaking News » EO on Freedom of Information measure signed

ID-100349422Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed on July 24 an order that will make public documents and records available to citizens and will promote transparency in government.

Signing the EO on Freedom of Information (FOI), entitled “Operationalizing in the Executive Branch the People’s Constitutional Right to Information and the State Policies of Full Public Disclosure and Transparency in the Public Service and Providing Guidelines Thereof,” was one of Duterte’s campaign promises when he was running for president.

A similar measure has languished in the legislative mill for 29 years.

The order covers the entire executive branch, which includes the national government and its offices, departments, bureaus, government-owned and controlled corporations, and state universities and colleges.

“No request for information shall be denied,” presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar said, save for information that “falls under any of the exceptions enshrined in the Constitution, existing law or jurisprudence.”

The Department of Justice and the Office of the Solicitor-General have been ordered to identify the exceptions.

To gain access to government information, a written request must be submitted to the government office concerned. The request should state the name and contact information of the person making the request, provide valid proof of identification or authorization, reasonably describe the information requested, and state the reason for the request. The public official receiving the request must in turn provide reasonable assistance to the person free of charge.

Under the order, the government has 15 working days to respond and inform the person that the request is granted.

Following the signing, two senators filed their own bills in the 17th Congress seeking to enact the freedom of information law.

Senator Loren Legarda filed Senate Bill No. 248 and Senator Grace Poe submitted Senate Bill No. 159.

Legarda, who had also filed an FOI bill in the 16th Congress, said the right to information is a constitutionally protected right under Article III, Section 7 of the Constitution.

Image courtesy of fantasista at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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