BAGUIO CITY, April 30 (PIA) – – Having a localized Freedom of Information can help local government units gain the thrust of their constituents, and as FOI users, LGUs can also have better decision making.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Kris Ablan stressed this during the virtual FOI Conference for Luzon LGUs on April 28.
Ablan, in his presentation, outlined that the whole of the Executive Branch is already connected to the electronic Freedom of Information (eFOI) portal, and at present 51 LGUs already have their localized FOI.
Being an implementer of FOI, LGUs are providing the people with their constitutional rights of access to information, official records and public records. At the same time, it will also help in thrust building and can also be a good listening tool on the needs of their constituents, Ablan said.
LGUs can also be users of FOI and it can help in better decision making, competitiveness, transparency and empowerment, he added.
As of April 27 data of the FOI Project Management Office, there are already 89,729 FOI requests of which 29,490 are paper based and 60,239 through the eFOI portal. Along with government, academe, civil society organizations, media and general public, there are also 4,615 LGU users of the FOI.
The PCOO and the Department of the Interior and Local Government have Joint Memorandum Circular (MC 2018 – 01), a reiteration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Executive No. 2 Series of 2016 “Operationalizing the People’s Right to Information and the State Policies of Full Public Disclosure and Transparency in the Public Service”, which also encourage LGUs to localize and support the FOI.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año, in his message in the conference, reiterated the government’s call for LGUs to support the FOI, which primarily aims to ensure good and participatory governance.
“This is how we increase public thrust, as well as to establish good and participatory governance. This is how we empower Filipinos and bring a citizenry of nation builders. The Foundation has already been laid and it is up to us, the whole government to strengthen the grounds and pillars for a better informed and engaged people,” Año said.
PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar, in his message, also outlined that the FOI can also help the country move towards recovery amid the COVID – 19 pandemic.
“Today, we see how this program is becoming more and more essential to the welfare of the people. By releasing timely and relevant data, the decision makers of the country can better address the local and national concerns. Through the FOI program, each of us may now be an active participant to the recovery of the nation being aware of government initiatives and relief efforts,” Andanar stressed.
For the conference, the LGUs of South Cotabato, Tugegarao City and Infanta, Quezon shared their best practices as FOI implementers. On the part of Congress, Senator Bong Go and Quezon City 5th District Representative Alfred Vargas provided messages of support to the FOI. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)