97% of nat’l gov’t agencies now FOI compliant: Andanar

MANILAPresidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar on Wednesday said 97 percent of national government agencies have already enrolled in the Freedom of Information (FOI) program.

Actually nasa 97 percent na ng ating mga national government agencies ang nakapag-comply sa ating Freedom of Information (Actually, 97 percent of our national government agencies have already complied with our Freedom of Information), Andanar said in an interview over radio dwFM.

He said some local government units from Ilocos Norte, Mindoro and Mindanao, as well as Angeles City, and local water utilities have volunteered to join the FOI program.

Just days before his first State of the Nation (SONA) address on July 23, 2016, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 02 establishing the first FOI program in the country.

Agencies covered are all government offices under the executive branch, as well as government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs) and state universities and colleges (SUCs).

The FOI program is the Duterte administration's response to the call for transparency and full public disclosure of information as it allows Filipino citizens to request any information about government transactions and operations provided that it shall not put into jeopardyprivacy and matters of national security.

Andanar said the PCOO has been going around the country to train different government agencies on how to strengthen the implementation of the FOI operation.

He said FOI, one of the PCOO's major accomplishments under the Duterte administration, boosts a constitutional provision, which provides every Filipino the right to information.

So therefore, iyong ating mga kababayan ay pwede na pong dumiretso sa FOI kung meron silang gustong malaman (our countrymen can go directly to FOI if there is something they want to know)as long as it is under the national government agencies, Andanar said.

Andanar said FOI will also provide corruption watchdogs access and to check if the government is properly doing its job.

He is hoping that both houses of Congress will pass a bill that will make FOI a law in the country.

Once po na maging batas ito (once it becomes law), we will be on our way to becoming a country that's truly transparent at makakasabay na po tayo sa mga bansa na mas progresibo (and we can catch up with progressive countries), Andanar said.

During the 2018 FOI Summit, Andanar said FOI is an effective tool to combat disinformation and fake news amid the fast-paced information dissemination era. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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