PCOO commits to implementing FOI
This refers to the letter “Gov’t agencies make FOI hard to implement” (11/5/18) from Juniper C. Dominguez.
1) Regarding the statement that “The IRRs (implementing rules and regulations) make it harder to secure documents of government transactions”: Executive Order (EO) No. 2, Series of 2016 operationalizes the people’s right to information and the state policies of full disclosure and transparency in public service. Memorandum Circular No. 10, Series of 2016 designated the Presidential Communications Operations Office as the lead agency in the implementation of EO 2. As such, the Freedom of Information Project Management Office (FOI-PMO) was established to monitor and evaluate the compliance of agencies to the FOI program.
In EO 2, there are procedures for government agencies to follow in making FOI requests.
In this case, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), as an agency under the executive department, shall respond to an FOI request within 15 working days upon receipt.
Extensions may be allowed for a period of 20 working days if the requested information requires an
Moreover, EO 2 only applies to government agencies under the executive branch of the Philippine government. Please be reminded that the Commission on Audit (COA) is a constitutional commission, which means it is not under the executive department.
Nonetheless, the COA has COA Circular No. 2013-006, which provides for the guidelines in the disposition of requests/records/reports/decisions and other information in the possession and/or custody of the COA, including the furnishing of copies to requesting parties.
2) As to the statement “If Cabinet secretaries, especially of the DPWH, would issue an administrative order to regional and district offices to provide documents, maybe fighting corruption would be made easier. But, irony of ironies, government agencies make it extra hard to get such documents”: The FOI-PMO is in the
process of establishing partnerships with other agencies covered by EO 2 to develop ways to strengthen the document management system of the agencies under the executive branch.
We are alongside the campaign against corruption, and we commit to remind all concerned government units implementing the FOI program to observe and be guided by the provisions of EO 2 to have a transparent and accountable government.
KRISTIAN R. ABLAN,
Office for Policy and Special Concerns,
Freedom of Information Project Management Office,
Presidential Communications Operations Office,
San Miguel, Manila
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