Half of requests online for government info processed

About 47 percent of the 18,036 online requests from the public to get access to information from 447 agencies under the executive branch were “successfully facilitated and processed”, according to data from the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

During the Freedom of Information Awards ceremony in Makati City on Thursday, PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar touted the Duterte administration’s transparency by making the offices under the Office of the President available for public scrutiny.

“[Around] 18,036 requests were lodged on the e-FOI [electronic FOI] portal,” Andanar said in his opening remarks.

“Out of these online requests to 447 participating government agencies, 47 percent had been successfully facilitated and processed. This means out of every 10 FOI requests, half are disclosed to the public.”

In related developments:

• The Palace has renewed its call for the passage of the Freedom of Information law, one of the campaign promises of President Rodrigo Duterte that has yet to be fulfilled.

Andanar on Thursday called on lawmakers to pass the FOI law that seeks to outline the procedures and exceptions on the disclosure of public documents.

“I remain hopeful that our lawmakers will finally heed the call of the FOI-Project Management Office, the Civil Society Organizations and the people, and pass the FOI Law,” Andanar said.

• The Presidential Communications Operations Office has recognized the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority for its 99-percent compliance and response rate in implementing the government’s Freedom of Information program.

This was the second time the MMDA received the Freedom of Information Champion Award (agency category) from the PCOO, the lead agency in the implementation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 2, which authorizes the Constitutional mandate of the People’s Right to Information.

On July 23, 2016, Duterte signed Executive Order 2 on FOI as part of his campaign promise to allow Filipinos to obtain documents and records from public offices in a bid to promote transparency in the government under his leadership. 

Under the EO, a Filipino citizen may request any information about government transactions and operations by presenting proof of education to concerned state office or lodging queries online through the official website

An FOI request can be made before all government offices under the executive branch, including government-owned-or-controlled corporations and state universities and colleges.

Requesting parties can have access to information, official records, public records, and documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as to government research data used as a basis for policy development.

Andanar said on top of the 18,036 requests made through the e-FOI portal, there were also 29,490 paper-based requests recorded by a total of 4,107 designated FOI receiving offices across all government offices.

He said a total of 613 national government agencies, GOCCs, SUCs, and local water districts had complied with the FOI Manual submissions this year as of Sept. 30, slightly higher than the 529 recorded in 2018.

“It has been three years since President Rodrigo Roa Duterte carried out his transparency initiative through the signing of Executive Order no. 2, signed 2016. At that time, I was also honored to champion the Freedom of Information Program in government agencies,” said Andanar, whose agency is tasked to lead the implementation of the EO on the FOI.

“We are working hard with FOI officers to continually increase the FOI success rate next year.” With PNA

Topics: Presidential Communications Operations Office , Freedom of Information Awards , Martin Andanar , Freedom of Information law
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