January 29, 2023

The national government through the Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO) encouraged local chief executives to support the good governance initiative of President Rodrigo Duterte through localized Freedom of Information (FOI).
PCOO Asec. Kristian Ablan stressed the important role of LGUs for a whole of government approach in the implementation of the FOI program, saying citizens should have access to government information.
“We urge you to pass ordinances to localize FOI implementation and ensure that access to government information would reach even the most remote communities,” said Ablan, the FOI program director.
Duterte signed on July 23, 2016 Executive Order 2 or the FOI program that requires all executive departments, agencies, bureaus, and offices to disclose public records, contracts, transactions, and any information requested by a member of the public, except for matters affecting national security and other information that fall under the inventory of exceptions.
“You, as FOI advocates, will be the catalyst to finally operationalize the constitutional provisions – a right guaranteed by the highest law of the land – to provide the citizenry access to government information. And in the process, you are not only FOI advocates but a cornerstone of democracy,” he added.
PCOO Asec. Ana Maria Paz Rafael said FOI will strengthen the citizen’s trust in the government; will provide better understanding of the government policies, programs, and services; and will help empower local government units.
Legaspi City Mayor Noel Rosal and La Union Legal Officer Dominique Jose Puzon shared their experiences in the panel discussion on LGUs’ best practices on FOI.
Other learning sessions are the Enhanced Full Disclosure Policy and the DevLIVE by the Department of the Interior and Local Government; Project DIME by the Department of Budget and Management, and enhancing transparency at the local level through the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index by the Department of Trade and Industry. – Carlito C. Dar