LA TRINIDAD, Benguet, May 30 (PIA) -- The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Benguet is currently working on an ordinance which operationalizes the Freedom of Information (FOI) in the province, anchored on the presidential directive which ensures the bureaucracy’s commitment to openness and enforces a policy on full disclosure across government agencies.
Executive Order No. 2, Series of 2016 signed by Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte mandates all government offices under the Executive Branch, national government and all its offices, departments, bureaus, offices, and instrumentalities including government-owned or controlled corporations (GOCCs),state universities and colleges, and local government units are encouraged to observe full disclosure and transparency in the public service.
Board Member Robert Namoro, who authored the measure, said all the departments of the province including hospitals are covered by the ordinance. He said FOI is also part of the assessment of the Seal of Good Local Governance.
Information that can be accessed include official records, public records and documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as government research data used as basis for policy development. But there are inventory of FOI exceptions which will be published for proper guidance of those covered.
No request for information shall be denied unless it clearly falls under any of the exceptions in the inventory of FOI exceptions, as stated in the provision.
Board Member Ruben Paoad, a lawyer, said the passage of the law has no limitation so one can avail of his or her right to information. But he cautioned that if it involves security of the state, then such information could not be disclosed.
Among the other provisions of the measure are the filing of Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth available for scrutiny, protection of privacy, procedure that governs filing and processing of request for access to information, notice of denial, remedies in cases of denial of request for access to information, keeping of records, penalty provisions, and establishment of an FOI office.
Namoro said the measure is expected to be passed by June. Susan C. Aro (ALT/SCA-PIA CAR, Benguet)