MANILA Communication Assistant Secretary Kristian Ablan acknowledged the call of the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition (R2KRN) for the immediate passage of the FOI legislation as a result of challenges in accessing government information on flagship programs, such as the Tax Reform Law and Build, Build, Build.
In a public forum on Tuesday, the Coalition presented the findings from its fourth run of practice projects with requests from 20 agencies, including the departments of budget, transportation, public works, and finance, among others.
To respond to the recommendations, Ablan, also the FOI Program Director, shared the upcoming plans of FOI Philippines, among them the establishment of FOI Clearing Houses for consistent disclosure practices; regular consultation sessions with FOI officers; enhanced electronic FOI portal, which includes an online appeals mechanism; and collaboration with the departments of information and communications technology, and budget, and the National Archives of the Philippines for the government-wide digital records management policy.
Budget Undersecretary Lilia Guillermo also committed to assist agencies in their request for regular positions for FOI personnel. This is in response to the recommendation of the Coalition to have dedicated FOI officers who can competently handle a surge in FOI requests.
The R2KRN coalition, a network of 160 member organizations, has been a staunch advocate of the passage of the FOI Bill since it was convened in 2002, initially as the Access to Information Network (ATIN), before expanding into R2KRN in 2009.
To complement their legislative advocacy, they have been conducting consecutive Practice Projects on FOI as early as 2014. (PR)
Source: Philippine News Agency