DUMAGUETE CITY, Dumaguete City, Nov. 27 (PIA) — Presidential Communications Op-erations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary and Freedom of Information (FOI) Director Atty. Kristian Ablan highlights the importance of FOI as a platform for government transparency and public participation and engagement to the government in a Multi-sectoral Forum or PCOO Roadshow in Dumaguete City.
Speaking before over 200 participants, Asec Ablan said that FOI enables the Filipino people to acquire free information specifically in offices under the Executive Branch.
The FOI program is a landmark policy of the Duterte Administration that aids citizens to get information from the government except certain sensitive information consisting of privacy and national security.
Atty. Ablan said to get the information, it can be done online through www.foi.gov.ph or offline procedure by way of submitting a request form to agency’s FOI receiving officer.
The government agency is given 15 working days to process the request, however if the information is difficult to retrieve, then it can be extended for 20 working days.
Asec Ablan showed that of the public users recorded, 80 percent were from Luzon while Visayas and Mindanao regions only have eight percent each.
The FOI Program increases the knowledge of the public, promoting innovation and empowering individuals by providing access to government information, said Ablan.
He also shared how FOI can be applied for personal development, business, and other aspects of life and how it can help people make solid decisions to improve their lives.
In the same event, PCOO Undersecretary for Administration and Legal Affairs Atty. Marvin Gatpayat informed various sectors in Negros Oriental to be more active in participating in government affairs and be engaged in knowing more about the programs and projects of the government.
The Philippines is one of 116 countries that allotted a freedom of information policy.
Through President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order #2 series of 2016 otherwise known as the Freedom of Information upholding the constitutional rights of the people to information on matters of public concern.
Usec Gatpayat said the EO mandates all executive departments, agencies, bureaus and offices to make public any record, contracts, transactions and information requested by a public individual except for confidential and sensitive information.
Meanwhile, Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) Executive Director, Usec Joel Sy Egco called on media in the province to give direct information to authorities once a threat against them is received.
Usec Egco said generally, media killing is a by-product of the hostile geopolitical environment in the country.
The forum was participated in by heads and representatives from different national and local government agencies, civil society organization, barangay health workers in Dumaguete City, business sector, public information officers, local media among others.
The PCOO in cooperation with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) held its 16th and last leg for this year’s PCOO Roadshow for the first hosted by a private university, Silliman University in Dumaguete City. (By Jennifer Tilos/PIA7 Negros Oriental)