DAVAO CITY -- The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) encouraged the local government units to implement the Freedom of Information (FOI) program.
In the assembly of the Communication for Development Network of the Regional Development Council XI, Michelle Manza, FOI lead of the PCOO, challenged the information officers especially those from the local government units to push for the passage of local FOI ordinance.
Manza stressed that it is important for the LGUs to have its FOI program since most of the requests in the web portal are local information.
“When we conducted the review of the requests of the FOI portal, we found out that the majority of the requests being raised by the citizens are local information and not held by the central agencies,” she said.
According to the FOI program data, there are only 9 provinces, cities and municipalities, who have already carried out the FOI.
These are provinces of Bohol, Surigao del Norte, Masbate, Ilocos Norte, and Benguet; cities of Laoag in Ilocos Norte and Pasig in Metro Manila; and municipalities of Pakil in Laguna and San Nicolas in Ilocos Norte.
Manza added that four local government units have pending ordinances on FOI, namely Malolos and Baliuag in Bulacan; Legazpi City in Albay; and province of South Cotabato.
She also emphasized that aside from the demand, the local government units can also use the FOI as a tool for transparency and also in preparation of the passage of the FOI bill in Congress.
For now, Manza added, FOI is being utilized by the Filipino people to get to know what the government s dong in terms of programs and projects, and for social awareness.
“FOI also becomes a listening tool for us in the government,” she said.
With FOI, the government can understand what kind of information the Filipino people need to create a sound decision, she said.
The Freedom of Information program is a product of the Executive Order No. 2 series of 2016, which operationalized in the Executive Branch the people’s constitutional right to information and the state policies of full public disclosure and transparency in the public service and providing guidelines therefor.
According to the FOI web portal, there are 366 government agencies, including national government agencies, government owned and controlled corporations, state universities and colleges, and water district.
Manza also recognized the Davao City Water District as the first water district in the country that implemented FOI program. (PIA 11/DabaweNEWS, Michael Uy)
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