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PCO makes FOI easy and convenient

12:03 AM January 31, 2017

The Duterte administration has taken government transparency to a new level by coming up with a freedom of information website—foi.gov.ph—run by the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) under Secretary Martin Andanar. Before, each government agency or department posted their records on their respective websites only, where the public could read or copy them. But the PCO has made FOI better and more convenient through the interactive FOI platform, where anyone can request specific records from any agency just by registering as a requester and filling out an online request form.

The registration is simple, it’s just like opening a Gmail or Facebook account. No need to personally go to the office of the agency to fill out a request form and go back to get the requested record once it becomes available, thus saving time, effort and money. The PCO, which has been tasked to make sure that all government agencies comply with President Duterte’s FOI executive order, will be the one to get the information from the proper agency.

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After creating an account at foi.gov.ph, the requester will make the request through the account and just wait for the response or record to be delivered to the same account, in the comfort of his or her home.

The website indicates the status of the request—if it is “processing,” “pending,” “accepted,” or “denied.” Not all government records, the classified ones, can be made available to a requester.

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Since the PCO launched the FOI website in November, hundreds of people have requested to see government records for personal use, research or reporting. It’s not just private citizens who are accommodated by the FOI site.

Media people also benefit, including Inquirer reporters like Leila Salaverria, whose request for the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth of each Cabinet member of the Duterte administration was accepted.

Kudos to the PCO for a job well done.

JEMELYN VALERIO, [email protected]

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TAGS: FOI, Freedom of Information, letter, Letter to the Editor, Martin Andanar, opinion
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