2021 FOI CHAMPION. Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Roberto Uy receives a plaque from PCOO Undersecretary and Freedom of Information-Project Management Office Program Director Kristian Ablan during the 2021 FOI Awards at Radisson Blu Hotel in Cebu City on Thursday night (Nov. 25, 2021). The DOE has been chosen as the 2021 FOI Champion Department Award for its exceptional or significant contribution to the FOI programs, progress and development. (Screengrab from RTVM video)

CEBU CITY – The Department of Energy, this year’s Freedom of Information (FOI) Champion Department Award, expressed its commitment to raise the bar of transparency by providing the public with wide-ranging freedom to access information.

In his speech during the 2021 FOI Awards on Thursday night at the Radisson Blu Hotel here, DOE Undersecretary Roberto Uy assured the Filipino people of the agency’s unwavering commitment to remain proactive in enhancing their system and processes in serving their clientele.

“It is truly a pleasure and great pride for the Department of Energy to be awarded as this year’s Department FOI Champion. We firmly believe that transparency is a core component of good governance, and that every Filipino is entitled to be informed of what the government is doing for them,” Uy said.

Uy thanked the Presidential Communications Operations Office’s FOI Project Management Office for recognizing the efforts of the DOE and for its untiring support to the department’s FOI team in the effective handling of requests to access to data and information.

The recognition, he said, will serve as their inspiration to strive for excellence in serving the public.

Uy received from PCOO Undersecretary and FOI Program Director Kristian Ablan a plaque, commending the DOE as 2021 FOI Champion Department Award for its “exceptional or significant contribution to the FOI programs, progress, and development.”

The Department of Science and Technology was the first runner up while the Department of Foreign Affairs was the second runner up for the award.

The FOI-Project Management Office also cited the News and Information Bureau – Philippine News Agency for providing “exceptional promotion of FOI programs through integration of FOI in PNA’s online contents and its various media channels, driving proactive image and online engagements for the program.”

NIB Director Virginia Arcilla-Agtay received the plaque from Ablan.

During the ceremony, at least 21 local government units were also commended for passing their localized version of the FOI.

These LGUs are Muntinlupa City, Dumangas in Iloilo, San Francisco in Agusan del Sur, Kidapawan in Cotabato, Sagada in Mt, Province, Cervantes in Ilocos Sur, Cabuyao in Laguna, Lamitan in Basilan, Palawan province, Sto. Tomas in La Union, Laguna province, Monkayo in Davao de Oro, Pilar in Sorsogon, Agusan del Sur province, Sta. Maria in Ilocos Sur, Balaoan in La Union, Lacub in Abra, Tabaco City in Albay, Kapangan in Benguet, Ormoc City in Leyte, and Lingayen in Pangasinan.

“To the (LGUs) that passed their FOI ordinances, we commend your initiative to adopt a localized version of FOI program,” Ablan said, pointing that such endeavor serves as a testament that both the national and local government entities are united in fully affording the public with ample access to information.

Ablan commended the other awardees from the different government entities, state universities, and local water districts

“To the more than four thousand FOI officers, we salute your diligence and dedication to facilitate our citizen’s information requests. Batid po naming hindi biro ang paglalaan ng lakas ng katawan at isipan sa pagganap ng ganitong tungkulin (We know that it is not a joke to devote physical and mental strength to performing this duty),” Ablan said in his speech.

He assured the national government agencies, state universities and colleges, government-owned and controlled corporations, and local water districts that the FOI-PMO will always be appreciative of their efforts in supporting the program. (PNA)