Photo from Presidential Comms
President Rodrigo Duterte officially signed the Executive Order on the Freedom of Information Bill today, a day before his first State of the Nation Address (SONA). According to Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, the EO on the FOI bill will be signed before the SONA on Monday, July 25, 2016.
The Executive Order is officialy titled“Operationalizing 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 Thereof”. It is an EO that seeks to make public documents and records readily available to the public. Malacanang touts this as an effort to promote transparency. A previous version of the FOI bill failed to pass in the 16th congress.
Andanar, however, also mentioned that there will be exceptions. Access to said information can be denied should the information fall under any exceptions outlined in the Constiution or an existing law. The Department of Justice and the Office of the Solicitor-General are currently working on a list of exceptions.
Citizens must submit a written request to the concerned government office for the proper information. The request needs to contain the person’s name, contact information, valid proof of identification or authorization, and a description of and reason for the needed information. The public official concerned must then provide free assistance.