Presidential Communications Operations Office Asst. Sec. Kristian Ablan (Photo by Joyce Ann L. Rocamora)

MANILA -- The Duterte administration is hopeful the Freedom of Information Law will be passed in 2020, a ranking Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) official said Wednesday.

"We would like to hit the ground running, hopefully, we get an FOI Law this time next year," PCOO Assistant Secretary and FOI-Program Management Office (FOI-PMO) Director Kristian Ablan said during the 2019 FOI mid-year conference in Manila.

For the first half of the year, Ablan reported a 100 percent FOI compliance from the national government agencies.

He also noted that 92 percent of government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) are FOI compliant, about 94 percent for state universities and colleges, and 41 percent for local water districts.

In July 2019, he said the executive branch is set to submit its updated draft FOI bill to the Congress.

"Upon consolidation of the inputs gathered from the civil society organizations, NGOs (non-government organizations), and NGAs (non-government actors), the FOI-PMO, in July 2019, will endorse the Draft FOI Bill to the 18th Congress," Ablan said.

In this draft, Ablan said the FOI-PMO added a provision on a "no wrong door policy" which compels the receiving agency to assist and guide the FOI user to appropriate offices or division that could cater to his request.

Through this, Ablan said the denial of requests could be lessened.

As of May 2019, the FOI-PMO received at least 13,401 electronic FOI requests. Of this number, 42 percent or 5,576 requests were successful, while 33 percent or 4,479 were denied or unsuccessful. The remaining 25 percent, on the other hand, is still pending/processing.

"The 42 percent is a big increase from 30 percent last year. Our goal is to breach the 50 percent mark that majority of request is successful," Ablan said.

The FOI program is a government mechanism which allows Filipino citizens to request any information about government transaction. This was enabled via the Executive Order No. 2, series of 2016, signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte. (PNA)