President Rodrigo Duterte is hoping that his successor would continue to pursue his administration’s quest for change and progress.
Duterte issued the remarks during the launching of the Philippine Postal Corp.’s (PHLPost) Digital Innovation and Modernization at the Central Post Office Building in Manila on Thursday, saying that the COVID-19 pandemic opened avenues for improvements to address the needs of the people.
“May our pursuit for change and progress never cease to gain more momentum in the coming years under the new leadership,” he said.
In his speech, he also urged the officials of PHLPost to continue its modernization efforts to ensure the “seamless” delivery of government services even beyond his term.
Duterte said that PHLPost’s modernization efforts were timely and relevant as it facilitates the efficient delivery of communications, payment of services, and goods and merchandise, especially as industries and businesses shift their operations to e-commerce and online transactions.
“In fulfillment of this administration’s Ease of Doing Business agenda beyond my term, I hope that you will constantly explore innovations and strategies that will further streamline, develop, and improve government services to the people for greater efficiency,” he said.
Duterte likewise expressed optimism that the PHLPost’s initiatives would help restore its integrity, as he acknowledged the public complaints against the supposed shortcomings of the PHLPost.
“I hope that these innovations, digital and all, will bring back the integrity of the Post Office. Many of the post offices, in the past, not now—many years ago, the complaint of the public was that fundamentally, their packages were either opened or missing, all sorts of you know things that would make a person unhappy,” he said.
Malacañang on Friday also pushed for innovative strategies to promote transparency in government transactions.
Acting Deputy Presidential Spokesperson and Communications Undersecretary Michel Kristian Ablan, who also serves as the Freedom of Information (FOI) program director, stressed the need to continue the current administration’s efforts to provide the public with easy access to information.
“I want to emphasize the value of transparency and accountability in governance as we move forward with the new administration,” Ablan said during the culminating activity of FOI Philippines’ InfoDataQuest initiative.
The FOI-Project Management Office (FOI) has launched the InfoDataQuest campaign in support of the development of access to information and data analytics culture and practice in the country.
The FOI has partnered with 2030 Youth Force in the Philippines, Inc., CirroLytix, and the Analytics Association of the Philippines to advance the sustainable development goals through FOI and data analytics.
Ablan said institutional reforms and modernization of tools and strategies are vital in achieving a “more transparent government.”
“That is what we tried to highlight through the ‘InfoDataQuest’ initiative,” he said. “In a data-driven world, data analytics could be one of our innovative tools in exacting public accountability of the government to ensure government officials are held liable and responsible for their actions and decisions.”
Ablan also renewed his call for the passage of the FOI bill that would ensure transparency and facilitate access to information and documents from all branches of government.
“To all advocates, partners, and stakeholders of transparency and freedom of information, let us keep the advocacy alive and push for an FOI bill to be passed in Congress. Let us continue to uphold and strengthen our right to access information from government,” he said.
The FOI bill aims to expand the scope of open governance by directing agencies to disclose information on projects and other matters that involve public interest.
The bill’s salient features include the crafting of a mechanism that will refer and transfer requests to appropriate agencies, as well as the creation of a records management system.
The proposed measure mandates the government agencies to respond to an FOI request within 15 days from the receipt thereof.
An oversight body or the FOI Commission will also be established, along with the creation of a central appeals and review committee for all FOI compliant agencies in the three major branches of the government – Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary.
On July 23, 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) 2, giving the public access to official documents and transactions in all state departments and offices under the Executive Branch.
Under EO 2, a Filipino citizen can request any information about government transactions and operations by presenting proof of education to the concerned state office or lodging queries online through the official website www.foi.gov.ph