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Duterte vows to enact FOI by Palace edict

THE presumptive president Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said  Tuesday  he would put freedom of information (FOI) measures in place on the first day of his presidency by way of an executive order.

“If Congress refuses to pass such a law, I will start on it progressively. Let’s cut to the chase. From day one… I will impose it (FOI) on my department, the executive department,” Duterte told the SunStar Davao in an interview  Tuesday.

“I will issue an executive order. There is no need for a law,” Duterte said.

While Duterte focused on curbing criminality during his campaign, he said he supports FOI as a way of clearing the government of corruption.

One of the campaign promises of Senator Benigno Aquino III when he ran for president in 2010 was to pass an FOI law. When he became president, however, the bill was no longer a priority.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte
Duterte acknowledged that the executive order would only cover agencies in the executive department, and would have no effect on the courts or on Congress.

Duterte on Wednesday said he has formed a six-man transition team to work with the Palace for the turnover of power on  June 30.

“The members of the Duterte transition committee are campaign manager Leoncio Jun Evasco; assistant campaign manager and executive assistant Christopher Bong Go; Carlos G. Dominguez, former Cabinet member and head of our campaign finance committee; lawyers Salvador Medialdea and Loreto Ata, personal lawyers of the presumptive president, and yours truly at your service,” said Peter Tiu Lavina, Duterte’s campaign spokesman.

Go confirmed to Davao-based reporters that President Aquino has congratulated Duterte for winning the 2016 elections.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told Palace reporters  Wednesday  that Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. will be heading efforts for the smooth transition.

“I talked to Mr. Bong Go yesterday to relay to Mayor Duterte that an administrative order is being drafted designating the executive secretary as head of the transition team,” Coloma said, quoting the President.

“I further offered that the Cabinet stands ready to brief his team on any and all of their concerns. Lastly we are committed to effecting the smoothest transition possible,” he added.

Laviña said they are already forming four teams­—the overall transition committee, a selection committee, a policy group and an inauguration committee—to ensure the smooth transition of government.

“The team members there will be personally assigned as the representatives of the president-elect to reach out to various sectors and communities, various churches, the three branches of government… and others we need to reach out to,” he said.

He added that the presumptive vice president, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, would be offered a Cabinet post under a Duterte administration.

Laviña warned, however, of any attempt to use Robredo as a tool to sabotage his term.

“The mayor has extended the hand of friendship and cooperation so we can work with anyone for as long she will not become a tool of the people who are saying they will put roadblocks in the path of the mayor,” he said.

Militant groups  on Wednesday  expressed high hopes that Duterte will be able to effect pro-people policies which the Aquino administration has failed to do.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon also said Duterte’s landslide victory is an indictment of the Aquino administration’s utter failure to respond to the people’s clamor for change.

“Today, the youth welcomes with high hopes the clear mandate given by the Filipino people to president-elect Duterte. His insurmountable lead over administration bet Mar Roxas is a clear indictment of the Aquino administration, a rejection of the current system of elite and exclusionary politics that has not only divided but also tormented the nation for the past years,” Ridon said.

“As we welcome the new president, we also challenge him to stand up for the rights and welfare of the marginalized sectors of society, particularly the youth. We challenge President Duterte to actively engage the clamor for free public education and the scrapping of decades-old education policies that have transmogrified the education system into a business rather than a fundamental right,” he added. With Sandy Araneta and Maricel V. Cruz

Topics: Mayor Rody Duterte , FOI , vows to enact , freedom of information
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