This, as acting deputy presidential spokesperson and Communications Undersecretary Michel Kristian “Kris” Ablan said the creation of the eFOI website makes it easier for ordinary citizens to access public documents and information.
Ablan, who concurrently serves as FOI program director, noted that around 100,000 requests for government records have been made since the foi.gov.ph website was launched.
“So, marami pong information na makukuha sa foi.gov.ph. So, sana po ipagpatuloy ito ni President Marcos at saka ni Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles (So, much information will be taken from foi.gov.ph. We have more or less FOI requests. So, we hope President-elect Marcos and Press Secretary-designate Trixie Cruz-Angeles will continue its operations),” he said in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on July 23, 2016 inked Executive Order (EO) 2, giving the public access to official documents and transactions in all government offices under the executive branch.
EO 2 enables Filipino citizens to ask for any information about government transactions and operations by presenting proof of identity to the concerned state agency or lodging queries online through eFOI website.
The concerned agency must respond to requests within 15 days. It may also ask for an extension to process the request which shall not be longer than 20 working days.
To date, there are 558 participating government agencies onboard the eFOI portal to provide the public with convenience in requesting public records and information, Ablan said.
“Bumuo tayo ng website, foi.gov.ph, at sinabihan namin sila na utos ng Presidente na dapat lahat sila ay nasa website na iyan. Ngayon, very proud kami na ang FOI website ay ang website na may pinakamaraming agencies involved (We created the foi.gov.ph website and government agencies, in compliance with the President’s directive, are part of the website. Now, we are very proud that many agencies are involved in the website’s operations),” he said.
On Tuesday, Ablan said the FOI policy initiated by Duterte will be vital in ensuring transparency and accountability in the Marcos administration.
Duterte’s EO, however, does not cover the legislature, judiciary, and local government units.
Ablan has been optimistic that the next Congress would push for the passage of the FOI bill that would expand the scope of open governance.
The proposed measure directs agencies in all branches of government to disclose information on projects and other matters that involve public interest.
The crafting of a mechanism that will refer and transfer requests to appropriate agencies, as well as the creation of a records management system, are among the salient features of the FOI bill. (PNA)