THE list of exceptions to President Rodrigo Duterte’s executive order implementing Freedom of Information in the Executive branch has been trimmed down to nine from 166 as it takes effect today, Malacañang said Thursday.
“We adapted the best practices of other countries which categorized and grouped several exceptions into major categories…The Philippines under EO 2 will have nine exceptions,” Communications Assistant Secretary Kristian Ablan told reporters.
The Palace-drafted FOI manual earlier listed 158 “exceptions to FOI” and six more listed as “other exceptions.”
Ablan said the trimmed-down version was now at par with the FOI laws in Australia and the United States, which also had nine exceptions:
• Information covered by executive privilege;
• Privileged information relating to national security, defense, or international relations;
• Information concerning law enforcement and protection of public and personal safety;
•Information deemed confidential for the protection of the privacy of persons and certain individuals such as minors, victims of crimes or the accused;
• Information, documents or records known by reason of official capacity and are deemed confidential, including those submitted or disclosed by entities to government agencies, tribunals and boards or officers, in relation to the performance of their functions or to inquiries or investigation conducted by them in the exercise of their administrative, regulatory or quasi-judicial powers;
• Prejudicial, premature disclosure
• Records of proceedings or information from proceedings which, pursuant to law or relevant rules and regulations, are treated as confidential or privileged;• Matters considered confidential under banking and finance laws and their amendatory laws;
• Other exceptions to the right to information under laws, jurisprudence and rules and regulations.
Meanwhile, only 11 agencies under the Executive department have so far complied with having an FOI manual as per Duterte’s EO No. 2, which includes the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the Department of Finance, the Parole and Probation Administration, the Department of Information and Communications Technology, the National Housing Authority, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency or NICA, the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, the Land Bank of the Philippines, the Civil Aviation Administration of the Philippines, and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System.”©
Visaya also took note of another leadership accomplishment on his part.
“This is only the first time in the history of our Armed Forces to make some Abu Sayyaf surrender. It’s not surrender one by one, it was en masse, 20 of them all,” he said.